SBD/June 20, 2013/Facilities

Jaguars, City of Jacksonville Agree On $63M In Improvements To EverBank Field

EverBank Field's end zone video boards will each be longer than a football field
The Jaguars and the city of Jacksonville yesterday agreed to terms on a $63M EverBank Field improvement project that will "feature the largest video scoreboards in the world," according to a front-page piece by Ryan O'Halloran of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. The deal has the Jaguars paying for $19.9M of the project and "any cost overruns." The videoboards -- one in each end zone -- will "measure 55 feet by 301 feet, making them longer than a football field and eclipsing in size those in Houston and Dallas." Jaguars Owner Shahid Khan said, "This will put EverBank Field squarely in the discussion of world class … while making us a destination for college football, international soccer and many other major sports and entertainment events.” Construction is scheduled to "begin in January and be completed in time for the Jaguars’ preseason schedule." In addition to the "mega video boards in each end zone, seven LED board displays will be built around the stadium and 7,000 seats will be removed in the north end zone so a fan area can be constructed." Gator Bowl Association President & CEO Rick Catlett said that the project "will help Jacksonville keep the annual Florida-Georgia game, add more neutral site matchups and, ultimately, compete for a seat at the National Championship Game table." Catlett said that he did not think there was "any doubt” that the improvements will "help lure neutral-site games featuring Florida State, Notre Dame or Navy starting in 2015 or 2016." O'Halloran notes Khan’s investment into a "new locker room last year, a plethora of projects inside the stadium this year and the scoreboard project next year exhibits how committed he is to keeping the Jaguars in Jacksonville" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/20).

COVERAGE PLAN: The AP's Jeff Elliott noted the 7,000 seats being removed "were previously covered by tarps." Temporary seating can be "installed for major events that require a larger stadium capacity," such as the Florida-Georgia game. The Jaguars will fund 75% of the videoboards' estimated $26.5M cost "with the city of Jacksonville funding" the remainder. The city also will fund the estimated $36.4M to build the "north end zone fan engagement area as well as the necessary infrastructure and control room to support the video scoreboards" (AP, 6/19). Sports architect Populous is designing the stadium upgrades. Senior Principal Dennis Wellner is in charge of the project. The K.C.-based firm developed the facility’s last major renovation in '95 (Don Muret, Staff Writer).

HOME IS WHEREVER I'M WITH YOU: Khan yesterday "emphasized the organization’s commitment to Jacksonville but also the benefit of playing one game per year in London." NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said that if the NFL "goes to three London games per year, 'what we’ll likely do is ask Jacksonville to potentially play two or ask three different teams to host.'" In Jacksonville, O'Halloran notes Khan "didn’t express disappointment with Goodell’s comments." Khan: "What I’m focused on right now, what we’re focused on as a team and what we’re committed to is four games in London." The Jaguars have a four-year agreement to "play a home game in London" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 6/20).
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