The home of the Jaguars got a new name on the eve of this year's training camp, when EverBank Financial Corp. and the Jaguars introduced EverBank Field on July 27. One of the nation's largest privately-held bank holding companies, EverBank employs more than 2,200 workers and is headquartered in Jacksonville. The partnership included a five-year naming rights agreement.
On August 18, 1995, when the Jaguars played their first home preseason game in their new stadium, it marked the first time in sports history that an expansion team had played its first home game in its inaugural season in a new stadium or arena. Not only that, but it was built faster than any major-league stadium had ever been built in North America.
In the short period of 19 1/2 months, the old Gator Bowl was demolished and a new stadium arose on the shores of the St. Johns River. And, very quickly, it was called the best stadium in the country. Just before the Jaguars kicked off their first regular-season game on September 3, 1995, NBC broadcaster Don Criqui said, "There isn't a better football facility in America." In its 10th year of operation, the stadium was the host site of Super Bowl XXXIX, the biggest single-day sporting event in the world.
The stadium underwent a $63 million renovation in preparation for Super Bowl XXXIX. Among the additions were the MPS Group Terrace Suite, a 25,000-square-foot sports bar called the Bud Zone, a 20,000-square-foot Sky Patio, 20 new escalators and four new elevators. A new secure perimeter fence was also installed around the stadium, along with two new state of the art scoreboards and renovations to the clubs and suites.
The practice fields that were used from 1995 through 2003 were converted into a 400,000-square-foot entertainment zone adjacent to the stadium, known as the Pepsi Plaza. For Jaguars game days, this area includes tailgate cabanas for pregame hospitality, an interactive game area, and a stage for pregame and postgame entertainment.
EverBank Field signature features include the two Touchdown Clubs, which are located on the east and west sides of the stadium. The Touchdown Clubs and all 11,200 club seats are located at midfield, rather than being spread out horizontally through the stadium. Each club provides more than 70,000 square feet of air-conditioned comfort with a variety of food and beverage selections. In all, 75 percent of the seats in EverBank Field are located on the sides, with just 25 percent behind the end zones.
EverBank Field seats 67,246, but additional temporary seats can be added behind the south end zone - expanding the capacity to well over 82,000 - for the annual Florida-Georgia game and Super Bowl.