Jags, Jacksonville reach tentative deal for funding stadium upgrades


With the football team not playing very well and giving away beer for tickets frowned upon by groups like MADD, stadium upgrades could be the only way in the short term to get people excited about going to Jaguars games.

On Wednesday, the team announced that funding tentatively has been secured by Jacksonville to proceed with enhancements announced in June.  Under the plan, the Jaguars will pay roughly 20 million, and Jacksonville’s $43 million contribution will come from existing revenue sources that already are used for stadium purposes.

The plan will be submitted to Jacksonville City Council on Wednesday.

The improvements, if approved, will include the biggest video scoreboards “in the world,” a new scoreboard control room, and a new platform area in the north end zone.

“Everyone who attends an event at EverBank Field is going to fall in love with these improvements,” team president Mark Lamping said.  “We owe our fans nothing less than the very best in-stadium experience.  This up-to-date stadium technology will give fans the best in video quality, real-time content, out-of-town game action, fantasy football statistics, multiple-angle replays and create a personality for EverBank Field which is distinctly Jacksonville.”

On the issue of “out-of-town game action,” Lamping previously has said that the new scoreboards possibly will play the popular RedZone channel continuously.

While the stadium improvements could help persuade more fans to come to games, nothing brings out paying customers like a competitive team.  That’s not what the Jags have been this year, losing all four games by a combined score of 129-31, which works out to a per-game average of more than 32 to less than eight.

Fans in Jacksonville welcomed owner Shahid Khan and his excellent mustache with open arms in 2012.  But with only two wins in 20 games played on Khan’s watch, those open arms quickly will become closed wallets if the Jaguars don’t at least start losing by at least two scores or less.

While Khan’s personal story of American success is an inspiring one, he is presiding over a depressing time in team history.  If the current trend continues, with the Jags being far worse than the next-worse NFL team, the man who has had two coaches and two General Managers in two seasons will have to ask himself whether he needs to press the reset button again.

In the interim, it’s hard to see how the Jaguars can generate any excitement or hope.  Although the local cries for Tim Tebow have died down considerably in recent weeks, the Jaguars can be horrible without him and struggle to generate any interest or relevance, or they can be horrible with him but attract attention and lure fans with something other than bells, whistles, and/or booze.