SBD/Issue 21/Facilities & Venues

City Officials Eye New Revenue Stream For Jacksonville Stadium

Study Has Shown Jaguars Would Need $148M
Over Next 30 Years For Jacksonville Stadium
Jacksonville city officials are "eyeing another revenue stream" to help get needed maintenance done at the city-owned Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, according to Matt Galnor of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. A plan, which is expected to be introduced to the City Council tomorrow, calls for taking $5M in bed tax revenue that "will be freed up now that the Prime Osborn Convention Center is paid off -- and directing those dollars to the football stadium, Veterans Memorial Arena and the Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville." The money "would go for routine maintenance, which the city is contractually obligated to pay for." An '07 study commission by the Jaguars showed a $148M "need over the next 30 years -- from replacing every seat in the approximately 75,000-seat stadium to upgrading the sound system from analog to digital." Other needs include "waterproofing the cement, replacing air conditioning units and replacing the hoods on concession stands." Jacksonville has spent about $74M on stadium costs since the Jaguars joined the NFL in '95. The city receives about $14M a year in revenue -- "including a cut of ticket sales and parking costs," and those shares are "adjusted annually for inflation." The "wrinkle is debt service," which is "paying for luxury suites and meeting areas, along with two popular fan gathering spots." The city "started to see a cash influx from the Jaguars last year, and will in coming years as rent payments significantly increase." Last year, the team paid "more than $4[M] -- triple what it paid the three previous years combined." Jaguars Senior VP/Stadium Operations & CFO Bill Prescott said that although the rent increase "comes at a tough time, with ticket sales lagging, the team planned for the payments and is using money gained from the stadium improvements to pay off the debt." Prescott added that 80% of the team's local revenue "comes from ticket sales, so when those numbers are down, it influences how the team pays for everything." But he said that the team "understands the city's financial issues, so the Jaguars will not be asking for rent deferment or a reduction anytime soon" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/11).

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