Jags getting desperate to sell tickets

The combination of a bad economy and a traditionally lukewarm fan base is causing plenty of heartburn for the Jacksonville Jaguars. 

Recently, the franchise has sent an e-mail to former customers, asking them to consider supporting the team again.  The e-mail carries the headline, “We miss you and want you back!”

“The coaches and players have been working hard here at the stadium
since January to ensure that we return to the competitive level that
you have come to expect,” says the message from Steve Livingstone, senior manager of business development.  “The front office is committed to delivering a
great NFL game day experience.  It will be fun to watch this team grow
together this season.
“You have been a great fan of our organization and we thank you for your past support — and we ask that you consider rejoining us for a special year as we celebrate 15 seasons of Jaguars football.”

The problem is that the Jags grossly underachieved in 2008, going 5-11 after a season that culminated in a wild-card berth and a playoff win in Pittsburgh.  So while we don’t fault the Jaguars for doing whatever they have to do to sell tickets, it will be difficult to avoid local blackouts — unless the team comes out of the gates and wins most of its games.

And this struggle to sell tickets makes us wonder whether the Jaguars might be one of the teams that has publicly said “no” to Mike Vick, but that might privately be considering whether Vick’s addition to the roster would pull enough people across the border from Georgia to sell most if not all of the non-tarp-covered seats at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

At a minimum, it would be reckless for the Jaguars not to at least consider the possibility, especially since quarterback David Garrard wasn’t nearly effective in his second year as a starter as he was in his first one.

54 responses to “Jags getting desperate to sell tickets

  1. Why is it so difficult for the Jags to sell tickets while people on Detroit still buy tickets to see the worst team in football. Until last season, there has not been a blackout since the days of the Silverdome which held 80,311 people so it was always tough to sell.

  2. They grossly underachieved due to the loss of stroud and a heavy line of injuries, especially along the OL(and jesus, a dude who was a 3rd stringer and expected to start was shot and paralyzed).
    They should be fine, Garrard is one of the best QBs in the league and probably will go totally unnoticed, sort of like Chad Pennington.

  3. You nailed this one Florio. I was having a discussion recently with several co-workers about where Vick could land. And the topic of Jacksonville was brought up, simply because Vick has a huge following in Georgia, and Jacksonville is close enough. It would be a fool proof plan if Atlanta still sucked, but since the Falcons now have a “real” QB, and they are a team on the rise, it will make it harder to get Falcons fans to convert.

  4. Maybe if they started there games at 5:30 a.m. and ended them before Matlock comes on TV and also started having an “early bird special” meal for there fan base it would drive up there ticket sales. Just a thought. GO TITANS!

  5. I think the Vick speculation is quickly regarding Farve level annoyance.
    Unless and until he does sign with a team, there’s no story to be had.

  6. How about cutting the price of tickets? Apparently the Jags haven’t noticed that we’re in a pretty bad recession right now. $50 for cheap seats and $100 for decent seats is farking stupid.

  7. This team cannot survive in Jacksonville. The smart move would be to send this team to L.A.
    This will be a back breaking year for the Jags. As far as I know, it looks like they’ll be as bad as last year.

  8. misterj,
    Did you just say Garrard is one of the best QBs in the league? I’m a Vikings fan so I understand being overly optomistic, but take it easy!!
    If the Jags win 5 games this year I would be surprised.

  9. I would be surprised if Vick lands with any NFL team. The UFL is willing to pay for him. Remember when Falcon fans were pushing for Vick to be benched for Schuab? He was not a good quarterback. At times he was electirfying, but only once or twice a year. Vince Young is better than Vick and he can’t pass Collins on the depth chart.

  10. I always thought that jacksonville would be the team to sign vick, every team should be able to sellout their games, he would sell some tickets and jerseys. the nfl is a buisness first, this would be a good move for them, plus I’m sure they fight dogs there, its florida

  11. The local blackout rule is Total BS.
    I am a lions fan for example, How the hell does the NFL have a right to black out a game at a stadium that was partly financed with public money taken from a $.02 incease on sales tax?
    Though it will never happen since there is like a 90 year wait on season tickets, I would like to see the shit storm that would ensue if the Packers were ever blacked out since the team is owned by the public.

  12. People who are tired of this Vick speculation should know that Chris Mortensen, Adam Schefter, Jason La Confora are all sure of this getting done this week, not just Tony Dungy.
    For me, the number one criteria I would have for adding a guy like him is big red zone targets. It seems like the best way to reign him in is to have huge targets for him to throw to and an understanding that if he doesn’t see anything, to just run with it. For that reason, I hope the my Arizona makes a move on him. I remember a Pro Bowl where Larry Fitzgerald made a spectacular grab from a Vick throw and this would be a fun combo and Arizona would end up playing a lot of teams where the top 5 most amazing athletes on the field would all be on their side (DRC, Fitzgerald, Dockett, Vick and Boldin).
    As for the Jaguars, with their O-line back, if they get any contributions from the other running backs and if Garrard’s sleeker physique translates into more elusiveness, then Garrard’s 18-3 TD-INT ratio from awhile back may be beatable. I’m interested to see if Reggie Nelson is looking better than he did earlier in camp.

  13. …….just goes to show that the NFL should never have gone there in the first place.
    the only reason it did during expansion was because 1) they wanted someplace “new” and 2) they didn’t want to have to choose between Balt and St. Louis.
    ….one piece of the puzzle that shows how incompetant Tagliabue was and how laughable it is to mention him getting into the HOF

  14. Florio getting desperate to drive web traffic. Asks former readers to re-join him to celebrate his 15 daily speculations on the fate of Mike Vick.

  15. Jacksonville is the smallest market by far for any NFL franchise with one of the largest stadiums (to accommodate the massive FL/GA game). The fan base is no different that any other, just smaller. The bottom line is that Detroit has 3-4 times as many potential ticket buyers with about the same number of seats to fill.

  16. Wow. This actually makes Vikings fans look even more pathetic. At least the Jaguars fans could point to a team that was underachieving. Vikings fans wouldn’t even support an overachieving team that was winning and had a home playoff game.

  17. All this bashing on last season is really more annoying than any Favre news.
    They underachieved because their two starting guards were hurt by the opening quarter of the first game and their backup lineman who could have swinged anywhere on the line was shot and paralyzed (keep in prayers) just before the season. By week two they were playing people who just signed off the street. Also their nickel corner got hurt and they were playing a guy who was signed off another practice squad.
    But they addressed these problems with their first two picks being on the offensive line.
    If they played in New York the media would be saying how good there going to be because of reasons stated above.

  18. nowathand………please!!! If you think Vick would do better in Arizona than Kurt Warner, you really have no clue at all!

  19. Cliff says:
    August 13, 2009 12:30 PM
    Jacksonville is the smallest market by far for any NFL franchise with one of the largest stadiums (to accommodate the massive FL/GA game). The fan base is no different that any other, just smaller. The bottom line is that Detroit has 3-4 times as many potential ticket buyers with about the same number of seats to fill.
    Just another reason why they shouldn’t have a team.
    BTW – Green Bay has only 100,000 people.

  20. Too bad they can’t just pick who they play.
    If they could play the Packers in Jax, it would sell out with Packer fans cuz we travel everywhere to see our team.
    Unlike the Viking fans who can’t even sell out playoff games with ease.

  21. LA are one set of letters.
    Another set of letters that they should have thought of were… T.O.
    Torry Holt is good, but do they seriously have enough?

  22. Signing Vick to “save” your franchise would be like smearing diarrhea on a wound to help it heal faster.
    As for the Jags to L.A. talk…
    They better get a move on, as the Queens already have a huge head start…I mean, they couldn’t even sell out a PLAYOFF game, fer Childo’s sake!!!
    Talk about sorry “franchises”!!!
    Hey, at least the “L.A. Queens” would already, immediately have a huge following in the California market…

  23. Minnesota & San Diego go through the same thing every year and San Diego has a good Team. Maybe it’s because it costs $500.00 bucks for a pair of tickets to see a game that is the problem.

  24. “BTW – Green Bay has only 100,000 people.”
    You have to include Milwaukee if you’re talking about fan base. Under your standard, the Jets/Giants wouldn’t include NYC.
    “Just another reason why they shouldn’t have a team”
    I’m addressing Florio’s maligning of the fan base as somehow lesser than other cities.

  25. Actually Fan_Of_Four, it’s because Qualcomm is a TERRIBLE stadium. Ask any Chargers fan.
    And yes, I did say Garrard is one of the best QBs in the league.

  26. The first indicator of a fan of a crappy team with nothing else to spout off about — whether an opposing team’s frigging stadium is sold out or not. If you don’t buy season tickets to your own team, shut your pie hole and comment on something you have knowledge about, like counting change using your fingers and toes . If you do, then yap into the wind all you want.

  27. Jacksonville is a college football town, being a short distance to Gainesville and Tallahassee. I live here and wish we could support an NFL team, but it wont happen.

  28. I am a diehard Jag fan since day one and if asked to rank the best QBs in the league I’d quickly rattle after 15 before the name Garrard (or Gerard) even came to mind.
    The problem selling tickets isn’t simply about the Jags have a bad 2008 season. It’s about having 7 bad ones out of the last 8. Maybe 2007 was the fluke and not those other 7 losing seasons since the AFC Championship loss to TN.
    Here are the top three reasons the team is not succesful on the field or in the stands:
    1. Byron Leftwich
    2. Reggie Williams
    3. Matt Jones
    Three wasted #1s in a row can do that to you. And the word on the street is that the coaches are rapidly losing faith in Reggie Nelson.
    Let the team go 4-0 in the first month, and there’ll be no blackouts the second month. Period.

  29. RedskinPete ,
    I’ve lived in Jacksonville my entire life. And as of today I’ve never seen a dogfight. Or made out with my cousin. Or brewed my own white lightnin’. Or ate squirrel stew. Or played a banjo. Or attended a roadside tent revival. Or walked barefoot down by the old creek. Or sat on the front porch just a swingin’ the day away with an icy cold glass of lemonade.
    Be careful who you insult when you’re a fan of an organization that still clings to a derogatory racial slang as its chosen team name.

  30. Cliff says:
    August 13, 2009 1:13 PM
    “BTW – Green Bay has only 100,000 people.”
    You have to include Milwaukee if you’re talking about fan base. Under your standard, the Jets/Giants wouldn’t include NYC.
    “Just another reason why they shouldn’t have a team”
    I’m addressing Florio’s maligning of the fan base as somehow lesser than other cities.
    No – my standard would be metro area.
    Too bad Jacksonville can’t draw from southern Georgia. Oh yeah – it’s a swamp.
    We have a similar issue in the Twin Cities. Three counties in western Wisconsin are considered part of our metro area – and media market. Most of those people are still Packer fans.
    Milwaukee is over 100 miles from Green Bay – hardly a quick commute, and Green Bay is NOT a suburb of Milwaukee. Not even the same media market.
    The Meadowlands is just across the river from New York City. Hardly a long commute (in distance, not time.) Epic fail on using that as an example.
    Another problem with Jacksonville is that they put a third pro team in a state that loves it’s college football.
    Hope Weaver gets some of Obama’s TARP funds for the expanded tarp.

  31. Topcide
    The black out rule does not have anything to do with who paid for the stadium
    It is to insure in these 3rd rate markets that people go to the games and buy tickets
    As far as I know the goverment has yet to appoint a Czar of football so the goverment has no control over what is and is not on TV YET
    Based on your logic all events at Ford should be on TV

  32. OK, Florio and the rest of you morons, I’m going to explain this to you one more time. I’ve been a Jaguar season ticket owner since day one, so I know my turf.
    Florio, instead of turning a reasonable advertising campaign into some desperate attempt to sell tickets, maybe you should actually visit the city during the season and see what actually goes on here.
    OK, I’ll enumerate (that means “list with numbers”) why Jacksonville is struggling:
    1. Along with Carolina, we’re technically the youngest franchise in the league. No, Baltimore, Houston and Cleveland don’t count…they are huge markets that had an existing fan base for new teams. Our franchise is 15 years old; Green Bay’s is…what…75 years old? The size of the market is meaningless when tickets are handed down through generations.
    2. Yes, the stadium is too big. In the early years, seats were not covered, we made the playoffs four straight years, and the place was always full. Then we had three losing seasons, a change of coaches, a couple of more sluggish seasons, and people were hesitant to come. Detroit notwithstanding, when you lose, people stop coming. Their market is much bigger; we don’t have room for too much error in that regard.
    3. Covering the seats was a smart idea, and they make them available for Florida-Georgia, so the Jaguars can compete against blackouts and the place stays full for the Gators and Dawgs. The alternative was to keep them uncovered and always be blacked out. Not a viable option.
    4. The economy sucks. It sucks everywhere. Do you see people in NY/NJ running to buy Yankees season tickets or pay those monster PSL fees for the new Giants/Jets stadium? The Yankees has to cut prices for seats in half, and thousands of season ticket holders are bailing in New York. I don’t hear about any crisis there yet.
    5. Signing Michael Vick is not only not an option, it would be a bad idea anyway. You just signed your franchise QB to a big deal two years ago…signing Vick would be a slap in the face of a guy who’s pretty good and just needs some decent receivers and a healthy line. I don’t care what Tony Dungy says about Vick: bad character doesn’t change overnight. The Jaguars just unloaded all their character issues. And no one in Georgia is going to make the trip to see Vick, and it’s unlikely that any player would have that much of an affect on ticket sales to make it worth the contradiction. Do you think the economy is *that* much better in Georgia to motivate people to come down here to see Michael Vick sit on the bench?
    6. Cut ticket prices? The Jaguars have some of the lowest prices in the entire league. What are they supposed to do, give the damn things away? If you owned a business, would you give your product away for less than it was worth or less than it cost you to produce it? Neither should any sports franchise.
    7. Stop complaining about the blackout rule. This is directly related to #6. If you give the game away free on TV, no one will pay to come to a game. Wayne Weaver used to regularly buy up tickets and give them away to lift blackouts. Businesses in town would often do the same thing. Where’s the incentive in selling the place out if someone’s going to come along every Thursday at 3:59 PM and buy up the tickets? Jaguar fans need to sit through a season where a lot of games don’t show up on TV. That will help them understand what they’re missing. I don’t care if they don’t get to see the games; I have tickets.
    One other thing people forget: there was a time when all NFL games were blacked out in their home markets. All the time, sellout or not. And NFL teams lose *nothing* due to a local blackout. They get the same amount of TV money whether the game is on in town or not.
    8. The schedule isn’t exactly compelling this season. The Colts and Titans game will likely sell out, as they usually do, and the Dolphins game in December will likely attract some folks from South Florida. But, we don’t have a Steelers match-up at home this year, and I doubt the Cardinals, Chiefs and Rams fans are going to travel down here.
    9. The team can sell out games if they win. The early part of the schedule is tough, but they’re a real unknown quantity this year with the rebuilding. If they can play like Miami and other “underachieving” teams did in recent seasons, they could head into a weaker schedule 2-2 and people will come out. Win and they will come.
    10. Oddly enough, this team sells a lot of game day tickets, and often fills the stadium up at kickoff. Doesn’t do much for the blackouts, but at least there are fannies in the seats. Win games, demand goes up, and those game-day seats will be much harder to come by.
    I can’t think of any more. These aren’t excuses. We’re living in a confluence of events down here, most of which are out of the control of anyone. The Jaguars can’t control the economy. They can’t force people to buy tickets. All they can do is put a decent team on their field and try to win.
    Just like any other NFL team.
    Now, Florio, come down this season, buy a ticket (they’re cheap), sit with the rest of us and enjoy a game in a great facility with decent fans and great weather. Hell, make it a weekend and play some golf.

  33. I’m a huge Jags fan. I’ll be enjoying all the games listening on the radio. Throwback style.
    Go Jags!

  34. You know, I occasionally get that same e-mail from BMG music, even though I haven’t bought a CD from them in years.
    Maybe if the Jags gave 15 seats for penny (plus S&H) they’d get a better response.

  35. I’m sure the number of people who would NOT buy tickets out of protest due to Mike Vick would outweigh the 12 Georgians who migiht drive down just to see him. If Vick’s biggest fans are around Atlanta – six hours away if the highway patrol doesn’t catch you, longer if they do – how many of them are going to drive down to watch him ride the pine? There are already plenty of people in Southeast Georgia who drive down for Jags games and are Jags fans as they are a lot closer than Atlanta.
    I understand San Diego, Oakland, Minnesotta, and Kansas City (possibly more) face potential blackouts this season – how about multi-paragraph stories about them?
    How’s the economy doing in podunk West-by God-Virginny these days, btw?

  36. Why are you so quick to prostitute Michael Vick to everyone in the NFL? Are you his freaking agent?

  37. I think the problem with selling tickets comes from landing in an area that is the inbetween point of two well-established fanbases: Bucs & Falcons. Not to mention the Dolphins fans and the ones that flocked to Carolina after there quick rise to success. It would be similar to putting a team in Harrisburg, PA. People tend to stick with football teams.

  38. @joe.attaboy.
    I must say that that was a well thought out and cogent argument in support of the Jaguars. However, I have to take issue with the following statement:
    One other thing people forget: there was a time when all NFL games were blacked out in their home markets. All the time, sellout or not. And NFL teams lose *nothing* due to a local blackout. They get the same amount of TV money whether the game is on in town or not.
    I’ve been watching Packer games since the early 60’s, and I can’t for the life of me remember one single Sunday that I was not able to watch them on television due to a blackout. Ever.

  39. Shackman:
    Since you’ve been watching Packer games since the 60’s, you must be suffering from Old Timer’s Disease…
    Until 1973, ALL home games were not shown on TV to the local market. When certain Congressmen could not see the Washington Redskins play your Packers in the playoffs in 1972, they went to the NFL to force them to show home games in the local market. Pete Rozelle’s compromise plan became the NFL blackout policy.

  40. This just sounds like a sound marketing practice to me. Why not target former customers? At lesat you know they are/were fans. Makes more sense than just emailing everyone in town, doesn’t it?

  41. The Packers have been around for a long time and have established tradition and Green Bay may only be 100,000 but what is the population of Wisconsin? Carolina marketed their team smartly. By Calling the team “Carolina” they are able to draw from two states and have several large metro areas within an hour and a half drive. they are also the only pro team in 2 states. I think Jacksonville should have been the Florida Jaguars and they should have tried having a preseason game in Orlando every year and should reach out to Daytona more. Jacksonville is surrounded by ocean and forests.
    No other real close Metro areas. Even so there is a solid fan base of 50k
    A winning team would help in the short term and time for tradition to build will be the long term answer. Lastly everyone seems to overlook this but having the U of F so close is like having 2 “pro” teams in the area. The Gators are returning national champs, preseason # 1, have a long great tradition and are always in the elite of college football. They have no issues filling that 90k seat stadium. No doubt this make the Jags situation even more challenging.

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