SBD/Issue 238/Franchises

Weaver Defends Jacksonville's Viability As Football Market

Weaver Says Media Is Unjustly
Picking On Jacksonville

Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver said Jacksonville is "going to be a great football market," according to a Q&A with the Jacksonville DAILY RECORD. Weaver: "We've got to grow generations of fans. People don't understand that if you look at Pittsburgh, you look at Green Bay, they're small markets. They're not huge markets. But they've been there for 85, 90 years. They've grown generations of fans. We just have to figure out a way to struggle through it, and be a part of the growth, and we will." When asked if the media is "unjustly picking on Jacksonville," Weaver said, "I don't think there's any question that we've been an easy market to pick on because we did black out all but one game last year. And then we haven't won as much, let's be honest, in the last 10 years." Read more from Weaver's interview below.

Q: Does the negativity get to you personally?

Weaver: Sure it does. It gets to me on a number of levels. First of all, I’m proud of what we’ve done here, and I’m also very self-critical that we have been average. That’s not what I want to be. I have never been that in my other businesses, and I made a commitment that we’re going to win a championship here, and I believe that we will.

Q: How significant is it that a local company put its name on the stadium?

Weaver: It’s huge. We’ve been talking to EverBank for a couple of years about naming rights. We’ve had some other people come in and make lowball offers to us. We wanted a brand on our building that we think is commensurate with the NFL, and we believe that EverBank is an iconic brand. ... I think they saw this as an opportunity, a platform to really create brand awareness, and I think it’s going to be a great investment for them, and it’s certainly great for us.

Q: What is the biggest issue fans have?

Weaver: I think it’s gotten expensive for a family to come to an NFL game, and we’re very conscious of that, and we’ve tried to do everything that we can do to be competitive.

Q: There’s been a lot written about selling the team. What do you see happening?

Weaver: At some point, I will sell the team. There’s no question about it, because I don’t have any family members that are going to take it. My plan would be to find someone that has the same passion I have for the market, and would be good stewards. But who knows? Things change over time.

Q: Do you have a time frame for an exit strategy?

Weaver: No. It’s going to be finding the person that has that passion for our community, and wants to be a great steward and wants to accomplish the same goals that we have for the organization. That opportunity may come sooner than later. You know, the truth is I’m having fun (Jacksonville DAILY RECORD, 8/24).

: A FLORIDA TIMES-UNION editorial states, "It's good news that City Hall is again -- after a one-year absence -- buying season tickets to Jacksonville Jaguars games. ... Consider it an investment in keeping the Jaguars, and their substantial economic impact here." However, there must be "strict enforcement of the ban on tickets being used by city officials and their friends," and there "needs to be some sort of accounting to assure the public that the ban is being honored" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 8/25).

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