Nearly a week after not taking quarterback Tim Tebow in the first round of the 2010 draft, the Jacksonville Jaguars continue to try to sell enough tickets to justify local television broadcasts of their games.
Team CFO Bill Prescott is optimistic that Thursday’s update regarding ticket sales will produce good news. “We have a long way to go but in 2003 we sold about 8,800 new season
tickets in the general bowl,” Prescott said, per the team’s official web site. “That’s the most we ever sold since the
first sale when we got the team. As of last Thursday, we were at 8,100
new season tickets in the general bowl and I think this Thursday we will
surpass that 8,800 level.”
Prescott also thinks that the decision to pass on Tebow won’t affect the ultimate numbers.
“It’s not going to cost us anything. I think our fans, just like we
believe in the process [G.M.] Gene [Smith] is going through, are confident in the
decisions we’re making,” Prescott said. “You can’t make a decision on a football player you think is
going to sell tickets. You have to do what is right for the team long
term. They’re making the best decisions for the good of the franchise.”
We don’t agree with that final point. Sometimes, business decisions overcome football decisions. That’s precisely what happened in 2008 when the Falcons opted for quarterback Matt Ryan over defensive tackle Glenn Dorsey with the third pick in the draft. Owner Arthur Blank, as legend has it, made it subtly known that he wanted Ryan — and Blank got Ryan. And the short-term and long-term interests of the team have been been secured.
For the Jags, the short-term business interests (and possibly the long-term football and business interests) would have been buoyed by the selection of Tebow. Though they may be OK without him, it’s disingenuous to suggest that landing the guy who was arguably the greatest college football player of all time wouldn’t have resulted in a rush of season-ticket purchases from folks who live in the Gainesville zip code(s).
Look at it this way. If the Jags had picked Tebow, would they have made him the centerpiece of the sales effort? If you answered that question in the affirmative then, yes, you believe he would have made a positive difference on sales.