Thumbs up for Jaguars’ stadium revamp


Jacksonville Jaguars new stadium approved Image: Jacksonville Jaguars

Jacksonville City Council has approved an agreement between the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars and the city on a $1.4 billion renovation of EverBank Stadium.

ESPN said the vote brings the Jaguars one step closer to securing the long-term stability of the franchise, although the agreement still needs to be approved by 24 of the NFL’s 32 owners at the league’s meetings in October in Atlanta.

If they give the go-ahead, construction is scheduled to begin after the team’s 2025 season concludes and will finish in time for the 2028 season.

The 67,838-capacity EverBank Stadium is an American football stadium located in Jacksonville, Florida (US) that primarily serves as the home facility of the Jacksonville Jaguars of the National Football League (NFL).

The agreement will see each side contribute $625 million to the project, with the stadium undergoing wholesale renovations. The City will then spend another $150 million on maintenance and repairs to get the stadium ready for construction in 2026.

In addition, the agreement calls for Jaguars owner Shad Khan to be responsible for cost overruns of the renovation as well as 80.4% of the game-day expenses.

The Jacksonville Jaguars ‘Stadium of the Future’ plan is a project nearly three years in the making to transform downtown Jacksonville and secure NFL Football in Northeast Florida well into the future.

Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan said, “This is a historic day for our city. As I said to the council, this is what we can do when we all row together and we focus on a goal together.”

The proposal would keep the Jaguars in Jacksonville for another 30 years and would come with a non-relocation agreement.

Construction would begin after the 2025 season, with the Jaguars playing in front of a reduced capacity in 2026. The team’s home games would then take place away from Jacksonville the following season while the stadium is being renovated.

The Jaguars say that their plans “call for a reimagined stadium with an environmentally-friendly and cost-effective structure that showcases state-of-the-art innovation.”

Among these innovations is a transparent protective canopy that provide sun, wind and rain protection and reduce heat retention by 70 percent, as well as a 360-degree concourse, “immersive” in-bowl digital and lighting technology and a subtropical nature park open year-round to the visitors.

The agreement will still see the Jaguars play one game a year in London.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping said the team started the process working toward an eventual new or renovated stadium back in 2016 and Tuesday night’s vote was the culmination of eight years of work.

Lamping said, “The reason we started on it so early is that we studied those cities that had problems with their teams. Unfortunately there have been cities that have lost their NFL teams and they generally all have the same thing in common. It’s a smaller market.

“The team doesn’t have a lease tying them to the city and they have an unresolved stadium problem. And Shad’s commitment from the very beginning was to do everything that we could to ensure that doesn’t happen to Jacksonville.

“We’ve been spending a tremendous amount of time and resources, particularly over the last four years, and we’re thrilled that we could turn that goal. It was a goal that Shad had and that the community shared to keep the Jaguars here in northeast Florida for generations to come this evening. We’ve turned that goal into a reality thanks to the mayor and her team.”

The renovated stadium would be similar to SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California, with a shaded canopy over every seat that would reduce the temperature by 15 degrees.

Capacity for Jaguars games would be 63,000 but seating could be expanded to 70,000-plus to accommodate the annual Florida-Georgia college football game as well as attracting other potential sporting events and concerts.

The stadium plan also includes 140 percent more concourse space, 190 new points of sale (POS), 16 new escalators, 12 new elevators, and 12 new restrooms.

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