Jags, Jacksonville still jostling over management of stadium

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The DUI arrest of receiver Justin Blackmon went a long way toward turning the page on a dispute that disappeared almost as quickly as it bubbled up between the Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville.

But while no one is claiming this time around that the lease was violated or using terms like “shocked and perplexed,” tension remains regarding the issue that sparked the temporary ugliness.  The Jaguars want a company known as SMG to continue to manage Everbank Field, and Jacksonville wants a company known as Global Spectrum to take the contract away from SMG.

SMG has offered to slash its fee from $1.2 million per year to $125,000.  SMG wants $300,000 per year as a base fee, but it will make $1.5 million in improvements to the facility.

According to ActionNewsJax.com, former Pennsylvania congressman William Gray is a close friend of Mayor Alvin Brown.  Gray also is a Comcast lobbyist.  And Comcast owns Global Spectrum.  (Comcast also owns NBC.)

Peter Luukko, chairman of Global Spectrum, admits that Gray is part of the effort to win the contract at Everbank Field.  “He’s a part of our team,” Luukko said.  “Obviously, this is a political process and to be able to utilize different people in town to get through the process is important to us.”

Coincidentally, or not, a subcommittee of high-ranking members of Mayor Brown’s staff has recommended that the contract go to Global Spectrum, a development that SMG officially has protested.  “We look forward to learning more about the subcommittee’s basis for its recommendation,” SMG said in a statement.

Eventually, SMG may want to know more about the relationship between Gray and Brown.  For now, though, SMG is taking the high road.

“We have no basis to object to any friendships that the mayor may have,” SMG said.

Perhaps the key word omitted from the statement was/is “yet.”

9 responses to “Jags, Jacksonville still jostling over management of stadium

  1. I love the City of Jacksonville and the Jaguars.

    I think it’s time for change.

    EverBank Field is the same age s Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

    EverBank looks 10 years older.

    I have walked the concourses on through the tunnels on gameday at EverBank and its not kept very well.

    SMG has offered to slash their fee.. That has disaster written all over it. Slash the price and the quality of the work they do will also be slashed.

    Let Global Spectrum run the stadium and develop the sports complex as planned.

  2. I love the NFL as much as anybody does, but a part of me cant wait until Goodell and company make the season a 18 game schedule and increase the amount of games in London, get rid of the kickoff indefinitely, continued stadium disputes, ticket price hikes and everything else that will inevitably destroy the NFL and ill sit back and enjoy when the NFL and its greedy owners and profiteers take a huge uppercut to the jaw and get absolutely destroyed.

  3. The fee won’t affect the quality of the work. They want the contract. To win, they have to undercut the price. Their demand? $$$ upgrades to the stadium. Give them the money to work with and they’ll work for less. They be able to point to the Jags as a client and that’ll help recruit more biz. Its called “buying the business”.

  4. You mean a Comcast/Spectrum lobbyist is chewing on the mayor’s ear? Well, I guess I’d be shocked AND perplexed if I was stupid

    SMG has their own lobbyist, Paul Hardin, who also happens to be a lobbyist for the Jaguars. There are several original Jaguar partners who receive an annual “consulting” fee from SMG as long as they hold the contract.

    A contract that the city taxpayers pay for. Not Kahn, not the mayor, but the taxpayers. We want the best deal. SMG has been ripping off the city of Jax for 2 decades. It’s time to punish them for their dishonesty, not reward them with more opportunity.


  5. I dunno, I’d probably be suspicious of any company that’s able to cut its fee from $1.2M per year to $125k just because there’s competition in town.

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