The Jacksonville Jaguars have decided to upgrade their stadium, spending $63 million in the process. However, the team continues to focus on increasing its popularity in London despite the upgrades to its stadium facilities according to team owner Shad Khan.
According to Khan, the team is focused on playing one home game a year in London for the next four seasons. The major objective of playing one of its home games overseas is obtaining corporate sponsors, something Khan admits his team is lacking.
The Jacksonville Jaguars will be footing most of the bill for the scoreboard upgrades at EverBank Field, covering about 75 percent of the renovation cost. However the interactive fan section that is being created will be covered by the city of Jacksonville.
Replacing the old scoreboards, the new equipment will be the largest of its kind according to the Jaguars. The new scoreboards will be in each end zone, and measure 55 feet high and 301 feet wide. The Dallas Cowboys scoreboards, currently the largest of its kind, measure 71 feet high and 159 feet wide. Almost twice as wide, the Jaguars will dominate the world of Jumbo Trons after the renovations are complete.
Scoreboards aren’t the only upgrades taking place. 7,000 seats which are typically tarped off for games will be removed and replaced with a state of the art facility. A platform section will be created where the seats previously went unused, featuring a pool in each end zone, as well as food and drink unique to the sections. Interactive activities between the organization and those in the section will also be a featured in the section. It is slated to be completed for the start of the 2014 season.
Fans of the Jacksonville Jaguars at least temporarily believed that the new scoreboards and other stadium amenities meant that the team would be staying in Jacksonville, and had shifted its focus from London. However this does not appear to be the case.
Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown summed up the cities goals for the project in an interview with the media. “Enhancing our stadium is a positive step toward the strategic goal of downtown revitalization as well, and it’s an opportunity to play to our strengths as a destination for sports and entertainment,” he explained.
However Khan may not make his goals a reality, summarizing the Jaguars’ agenda in his interview with reporters. “What we’re focused on right now as a team is four games in London for the next four years. That’s very important to us. I think everyone needs to understand playing games in London is very, very important for Jacksonville, it’s very important to this franchise. We need fans, we need more corporate sponsors. Jacksonville is excellent in fan support, great facilities that we’re going to have. We don’t have enough corporate sponsors.”
The city of Jacksonville has made a great step forward in its efforts to keep the Jaguars in town by upgrading the stadium, however if London continues to prove successful for the team, Khan may find it difficult to remain in the states if he fields an offer to relocate overseas.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express