Shad Khan views tarps in Jacksonville as a sign of failure


For some home games the Jaguars are blacked out on local television in Jacksonville because they haven’t sold out their stadium, and other times the blackout is lifted because the game is designated a sellout. But even those “sellouts” are played in a stadium that’s far from full.

New Jaguars owner Shad Khan has ambitions for the franchise to reach the point when a sold out stadium means a full stadium.

Presently, the Jaguars put tarps over almost 10,000 seats at EverBank Field and say the official capacity is about 67,000. Without the tarps, the capacity is nearly 77,000. And for major events like the annual Georgia-Florida game, EverBank Field uses additional bleachers and seats 84,000. The Jaguars have a long way to go before they’re drawing the kinds of crowds that Georgia and Florida draw, but Khan says that’s the goal.

Asked by Sports Business Journal if he wants to get rid of the tarps, Khan said, “Absolutely.”

“To me, every day I look at the tarps it is like underachieving, and I can’t wait to be able to do that,” Khan said.

There’s an argument to be made that the tarps aren’t really a sign of a problem in Jacksonville: Even with the tarps, the Jaguars regularly have more fans at EverBank Field than, for instance, the Bears have at Soldier Field. But Khan is an ambitious man, and he doesn’t want to accept any excuses for the Jaguars’ attendance record. He wants a fan in every seat.

53 responses to “Shad Khan views tarps in Jacksonville as a sign of failure

  1. If he wants fans in every seat, how about removing the tarps, pricing those seats at $12.50 (like a movie ticket) and selling only single game tickets in those sections!?

  2. Every time I see a picture of that guy I want to punch him.

    Seriously dude what’s with the Snidely Whiplash Stash?

  3. I bet he does. The cheapest seats are about 45 bucks a pop. Multiply that by 10,000 and you’re missing out on about half a million dollars a game. If we’re very generous and assume that those fans only spend $20 apiece on parking, food, beverages, and merchandise, that’s another $200,000. Multiply that over 8 games, and you’re losing between 5 and 6 million per season. And I was very conservative with my numbers.

  4. He is right but shouldn’t say it, he has not learned the golden rule of NFL ownership… just shut up.

    Now he sets himself up for “failure” when he is unable to sell out and must still use the tarps or when he removes the tarps and doesn’t sell out then has to explain to his fanbase (All 32 of them) why the game is blacked out.

    I would think he could understand that you can set goals (Our goal is to increase attendence to the point that we no longer need the tarps) without calling the tarps “Failure.”

  5. The first thing this man needed to do for the franchise, in order for it to grow/rebound, is admit to some obvious things. I agree with Mr Khan on this, now it is up to him and his team to fix this issue, beyond simply talking about pricing issues. He needs to have a product that is attractive to more people. I have never been to a Jaguars game, I’m not a fan, but I do live in Wisconsin and if you speak to a Packer fan, they consider the Lambeau experience to be amazing. Teams like the Jaguars need to find a way to harness something special.

  6. A lot depends on Blaine Gabbert. He was running for his life last season behind a horrible offensive line. If they don’t address that, he will never develop.

    Like David Carr in Houston.

    Winning will cure everything.

  7. I respect that Mario wants to build up his castle. Cause going to eight different worlds each season and seeing what a full castle is like not what I would want for my fans or players. Your Stadium should be your throne and the Princess should never be in another castle.

  8. Its not like they could have drafted a local hero to keep the place full for 3 years, and a chance at 10 more.

    Oh wait they did, and they blew that chance. This is the “hick town” that got a team over Baltimore, so what else should we expect from a franchise that was born by mistake?

  9. “joetoronto says:
    Feb 23, 2012 10:53 AM
    So now that Kahn say the tarps are a sign of failure, will Jaguar fans finally admit it?”

    Where did Khan say it was a “sign of failure”?

  10. Jacksonville’s metropolitan statistical area (MSA) is very small – less than 1.5 million residents. And the NFL will always play second fiddle to SEC athletics.

    The city itself might think it’s big time, but the MSA is what really drives NFL interest and Jacksonville is a 2nd rate market that never should have been awarded a franchise in the first place.

    No amount of success or promotional offers are going to fix this.

    It is not IF the Jaguars move, but WHEN.

  11. joetoronto should know something about failure:

    The Buffalo Bills have announced that they will not play in Toronto this preseason, claiming that a scheduling conflict has called off the planned August game north of the border. The Bills will still play a game in Toronto in the regular season, as they have for each of the last five years.

    The Bills’ claim that there’s a scheduling conflict is surprising considering that the preseason schedule hasn’t been set yet, and considering that a preseason game in 2012 was part of the original deal with the Rogers Centre that the Bills made five years ago. It’s probably safe to say that if the last two Bills preseason games had done big business, the team and the stadium would have figured out a way around the scheduling conflict.

    But preseason games in Toronto have not done well: The Bills drew just 39,583 fans for their preseason game against the Colts in 2010. That was down from an announced crowd of 48,433 for their preseason game against the Steelers in 2008.

  12. This site’s bread and butter: making an innocuous comment out to be more than it is. The guy said “underachieving” and the headline screams “failure”. I have to give you credit, though. Usually the site ignores the truth altogether, but you only buried it in the last paragraph. Even WITH the tarps, this stadium seats roughly the same as Soldier Field in CHICAGO.

  13. Folks, shall I point out that Tebow had a superior offensive line and better receivers to throw to, yet managed only the same number of TDs thrown as Gabbert, lower completion percentage, and fewer yards per game? And, strangely, he came close on number of sacks.

    Why the hell would you trade a QB *and* a 1st round pick for a guy who isn’t an upgrade?

    (And before anyone argues the quality of Jaguars receivers, I was in the stands watching as Marcedes Lewis – thought to be our most reliable target – dropped a perfectly thrown pass, in the end zone, with no one around him. That’s how crappy our receivers were. And yet Gabbert’s still relatively comparable with Tebow.)

  14. “Even with the tarps, the Jaguars regularly have more fans at EverBank Field than, for instance, the Bears have at Soldier Field.”

    Had to laugh at THAT comment. Yes, Soldier Field is a small stadium. But just try to get a Bears ticket. The season sells out every year in about 5 minutes. Some years I get tix in those 5 minutes, most years I have to go to Stub Hub and pay >$1,000.00 for four tickets. And as I sit in the nosebleed seats, I don’t see many empty seats (and no tarps seen in the past 20 or so years too).

  15. @kenowest People who live in Baltimore shouldn’t be talking about anyone else’s city. There’s a reason they film The Wire there. It’s a dirty, disgusting place outside of the stadiums and Inner Harbor area.

    Khan gave an honest answer to a direct question about the tarps. Fact is 67K is more seats than many NFL stadiums. Removing the tarps would make it bigger than every stadium I can think of except the one in Dallas. Khan also knows the Jags don’t have the luxury of having a multi-generational fan base. He has gone on record as saying the team needs to make the gameday experience better than watching it on tv. In three weeks he is gonna “make it rain” with free agency cash and he will also make upgrades to the stadium (@frostbelt – which was built from the skeleton of the original Gator Bowl). He is easily one of the most intelligent and personable owners in the league despite only being in the role a short time. And he doesn’t duck questions which may get him in trouble from time to time. But if anyone can get the tarps off, he can. The fanbase hasn’t needed Viagra since he arrived. And MDS should know better than to start this article with the blackout BS since there hasn’t been one in over 2 years. That whole first paragraph is nonsense.

  16. @Jagspride – JoeToronto is a disgruntled Bills fan. He takes repeated shots at the Jags in the past. Just ignore that Idiot. He doesn’t even know the difference between whats said and how its interpreted.

  17. As for the terps I hate them they look annoying and they are and eye sore.
    Plus I would say they would be a sign of failure if we were in a top 10 market but were not the stadium is far to large for the market we are in only because of 2 games a year require it to be so large.
    We need a 58,500 to 61,000 seat stadium with all the trimmings so if anything Everbank needs to be redesigned less seats more boxes and game day entertainment .

  18. I like the way Khan continues to answer questions honestly even though his mild underachieving comment turns to FAILURE….It is refreshing for those of us here in Jacksonville to hear, even if it is misconstrued nationally to fit a basic perception. I actually think Jacksonville has done fairly well for the past 2 years to average 62, 000 fans on a 8-8, 5-11 team just in time for the economy to turn south. Mr Khan is an optimistic man, and has high hopes for the city, the economy and the team. If the tarps can be removed it would be a major plus!

  19. jaystus says: Feb 23, 2012 11:00 AM

    Its Everbank Field.
    You cant just sell seats for 12.50. Prices have to be within the NFL average.

    Where did you read or hear that?

    Last I heard teams can sell them at any price they want.

    Some teams even have family and student prices that are below “average”.

    Would want to see something from the league on this.

    What about the tickets they sell at a discount to avoid blackouts? Those prices range from $35 up.

  20. I agree with Khan, if you pay a bunch of money to build a big stadium, then the seats should be filled.

    Unfortunately for Khan, he has it backwards. First the team has to be good, then he can fill seats. He will both make more money which helps his desire to spend and make more fan noise which in turn helps his team play better at home by giving the team an actual sense of hometown pride and pulling defenses offsides with the crowd roar. But first the team needs to play better.

  21. jagspride:

    Let me ask you a question….

    If the Bills came to EverBank Field to play a “preseason game against the Colts” and the tickets cost 250.00 each, how many fans do you think would show up?

    You know and I know it wouldn’t be anywhere near 39,583

    Try again.

  22. @kaptingarvin Why would you trade for a guy that isn’t an upgrade? Because it sells tickets. It’s not a football decision, it’s a business decision. Khan himself has said as much. If he really wants the team to stay in Jax then he makes that trade. Fans will be patient with Tebow- more than they will with Gabbert- and it will allow Khan the time and money to be a true player in free agency.
    Oh, and your comparison of stats is missing one little stat line. I think you know what it is so I’ll just leave it at that.

  23. swagjag – just for the record, removing the tarps would make the stadium 5th in the NFL.

    1 – MetLife Stadium (Giants and Jets) 82,566
    2 – FedEx Field (Redskins) 82,000
    3 – Cowboys Stadium [actual seats] 80,000
    4 – Arrowhead Stadium (Chiefs) 79,101
    5 – EverBank Stadium, without tarps 76,867

  24. .

    Part of the Jags market is Orlando . For years our network games have involved either Jacksonville, Tampa, or the Dolphins.

    Please make the bad man stop.


  25. Joetoronto isn’t a Bills fan, he’s a Raiders fan. You know team that has had 87 blackouts since moving back to Oakland in 1995. Now that’s a failure.

    There no point in arguing with people anymore. Even this article explained with the tarps the stadium seats 67k, but no one read that. Doesn’t fit thier agenda. Never mind that the stadium is the 20th largest capacity in league at 67k making it larger than 12 other stadium, but doesn’t fit the agenda. Never mind that Jax averaged 62k a game this season and more than that most other seasons minus 2009, but that doesn’t fit the agenda. Jax has some ticket problems, but not even remotely close to the media take on it. They will never report the truth about Jax, b/ it doesn’t fit their agenda. Go Jags.

  26. frostbelt says:
    Feb 23, 2012 10:54 AM
    Who in their right mind builds a 77,000 seat stadium in Jacksonville?


    Who in their right mind builds a new stadium in Manya$$holesrus, MN?

  27. Jacksonville needs a smaller stadium. Period. Khan is dead right about the well-used tarps which have made the Jags a running joke, deserved or not. It’s a testament to the previous owners that they were willing to take a loss with the tarps in order to ensure a “sellout” and avoid the archaic/ idiotic blackout rule. It’s clear the demand isn’t there for 70K plus stadium in Jacksonville, so they need a smaller stadium to keep up with the times. Khan is on the right track.

  28. @roadtrip Good info. All premier market stadiums except maybe KC which has a rabid fanbase that is generational (possibily the best tailgating experience in the NFL too). Jax as a franchise is young and often disrespected nationally. We’re used to it. We now have an owner hellbent on changing the public perception. Give it time.

  29. Those seats aren’t doing Khan any good sitting empty. Why not open the tarps and sell cheap tickets? I bet the tarp seats would sell out at $25, and it would mean additional parking and concession revenue.

    I’m guessing the reason this isn’t done is because you’d have a PR nightmare if you raised the price of those tickets later on when the team was better and had a bigger demand. He probably wants to reserve the right to sell those tickets at full price when the team is better. But it still seems shortsighted to me. Revenue is sitting there unclaimed.

  30. 1) Do away with the blackout rules.
    2) Take the tarps off.
    3) Sell as many tickets as you can.

    The tarps are there because the stadium is too big (77,000) and the Jaguars don’t want their games blacked out. If we do away with the blackout rules, there will be no need for the tarps.

  31. marty2019,

    It took an act of Congress in 1973 (literally) to get the NFL to stop the total blackout of NFL games for the home team. I know, as I was in the House gallery as the bill was debated and voted upon, then listened and watched the newscasts as it went to the Senate. It didn’t matter if the game had been sold out for weeks or months, if it was a home game, it was blacked out, and for a good distance from the stadium (50 to 100 miles, I think).

    The impetus for it was the many consecutive years of Redskin game sellouts and a waiting list for season tickets (at the time, there were about 50,000 names on that list – no per game sales PERIOD), and some Congressional members and staff got caught on the waiting list and couldn’t wangle any tickets for ‘their preferred game’.

    So, to get rid of the blackout rule, you’d need an act of Congress to do so.

    Good luck.

  32. “When did Ron Jeremy buy the Jaguars?”

    That’s very funny.

    But, on a serious note, I think he has a goos frame of mind, to bring back the Jags to respectability. We’re talking about the jags, right.

  33. @critter69….

    The law about blackout rules expired years ago…. it’s just NFL policy that says it has to be sold out…

    Jags tried cheap tickets years ago and still couldn’t sell out stadium and along with the ill advised free ticket buy by Winn Dixie in the early 2000’s before the tarps went on, cheapened the product…

    I have read that Kahn might be copying something the Bucs do and have children priced tickets for single games to help out families… For many, the cost of going to a game with your family is too high.. Some of the better non-club seats are more expensive than a day at Disney.. Need those kids coming to get them to become full priced buyers later on.. that’s not a bad idea.. The PGA Tour started the practice of free tickets for kids under 16… little easier to do that when you don’t have to worry about seats..

  34. Yes the children tickets will undoubtably help as will lowering prices in the upper level and just making it more enjoyable for the overall fan interaction but it’s not only a game anymore. It’s pregame the game and post game ( if they choose to do something) but really need to do more around the stadium but more football related stuff not the stupid crap.

  35. I thought this was about poly tarps, like the ones from I guess it really is. The stadium is too big and the market it too small. Period. They should order custom tarps from to atleast make them look cool.

  36. Uh, second fiddle to SEC athletics? Jags outdrew the Gator Bowl on last weekend of the season and the beloved Gators were playing in the Gator Bowl with Ohio State fans buying half the tickets. Couldn’t have been more than 20K gator fans there. And Jags were playing an awful Colts team.

  37. Wow.
    We’re already at Step # 2.
    (I didn’t expect we’d get there for several more months.)
    Of course, Step # 1 was buying the team.
    Step # 2 is raising the bar too high for a small television market and a HUGE stadium.
    Step # 3: Let the televised blackouts occur.
    Step # 4: After 2 – 3 seasons slumming it in Jacksonville, Khan’s magnificent yacht will speed off in the middle of the night…with OUR team.

    And he will then, again, blame the fans.

    And for those fans who cite the hefty fines Khan will incur once he completes Step # 4, Khan’s investment in the Jags will more than cover those losses (many times over) when he moves our team to L.A., St. Louis, Mexico City or London.

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