SBD/January 4, 2011/Franchises

Despite No Blackouts, Jaguars Faced Challenge In Selling Tickets

Jags Owner Says Front Office Has To Figure Out Better Ways To Sell Premium Seats

The Jaguars “didn't have any games blacked out this season," but selling tickets was “still more difficult than in other markets and they also did not have any true sellouts,” according to Tania Ganguli of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. One of the “major problems, perception-wise, for the Jaguars has been the trouble they've had selling club seats in the lower bowl in the middle of the stadium.” The seats “don't count against blackout numbers, but empty seats appear very glaringly on television.” Jaguars Owner Wayne Weaver: "That's the biggest challenge I've given this (administration) side of the building next year. We've got to figure out a way to sell out our premium seats. ... You look across where I sit over in the east side, it's an eyesore." Weaver also “laid out the gains the Jaguars had made in ticket sales this season and how he hoped the organization could continue on that same path.” He said, "I challenged ... the administrative side of the building, and I thought that they responded brilliantly.” He added the team “sold 15,000 new season tickets, 87,000 group sales.” Weaver: “We've got a template there. Hopefully those people will stay with us” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/4).

WHAT'S MONEY GOT TO DO WITH IT? Weaver yesterday confirmed that coach Jack Del Rio “will return for the 2011 season,” but in Jacksonville, Vito Stellino writes the move to bring Del Rio back "won’t be popular” with the local fan base. However, Weaver “isn’t rolling over the contracts of the assistant coaches whose deals expire after” next season. That means Weaver “won’t owe them any money if he fires Del Rio and his staff after next season although he would still owe the head coach" more than $5M for the final year of his contract. Weaver said that the money he “would have had to pay Del Rio ($10 million) and his assistants if he fired them this week didn’t play a role in his decision.” However, he did acknowledge that the NFL’s “looming labor unrest might have been a factor because a new coach would have had problems installing a system if the players were locked out” (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 1/4). Also in Jacksonville, Gene Frenette wrote the decision to keep Del Rio is a “risky move with fan cynicism alarmingly high.” Weaver said money "had nothing to do with it.” But Frenette wrote, “It sure had something to do with it. Any NFL team hiring a new coach, with an owner lockout of the players looming, has to be concerned that the replacement coach’s program won’t be implemented until summertime or later” (JACKSONVILLE.com, 1/3).

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