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Ahead of schedule


A couple of months out, Macky Weaver likes where things stand.

Weaver, the Jaguars' Senior Vice President of Sales, said the team is ahead of last year's pace for season-ticket sales and that he expects the team will surpass the number of season tickets sold for last season within about five days.

The season-ticket sales period extends through August.

"We're a couple of months ahead," Weaver said.

Weaver said the team has an aggressive goal for total number of season ticket sales. That means there is still much work to be done before the regular season opens in September, but Weaver said if past sales are an indication of sales for the next two months the team should meet its goals for the 2012 season.

"Assuming that stays at that pace, we will be in good shape," Weaver said. "We're still cautiously optimistic."

Weaver said the team under new owner Shahid Khan and new President Mark Lamping is focused less on the short-term, week-to-week number of ticket sales, and that therefore, there are no plans to release sales numbers on a daily basis.

Instead, Weaver said the strategy is about long-term, steady growth and building a solid fan base.

"There's a long-term plan here," Weaver said. "From sponsorship to ticket sales, there's a good feeling that in the next year or two you're going to see the fruits of these things. Could it be this year? For sure. There is definitely opportunity this year, but what you're not going to have is success this year then a drop-off next year.

"We have things planned for this year, then things planned for next year. This is the foundation. All of these things add up and people are excited about coming here and excited about this team."

Weaver said it's his feeling that the increased numbers from last season stems not only from a change in ownership, but an excitement generated by a new coaching staff and the selection of wide receiver Justin Blackmon with the No. 5 overall selection in the 2012 NFL Draft.

"In the last couple of years, we had gotten to a point there wasn't a lot of optimism," Weaver said. "There's optimism about what's going on with this team. I don't think nationally they're giving us that credit, but it's trending the right direction. I think people feel that."

The Jaguars and the rest of the league also benefitted from a full, normal offseason this year after a lockout threatened the preseason and regular season in 2011.

Weaver said the team also has worked this offseason to improve the in-game experience, an effort that has included improving the sound system and ensuring Wi-Fi service for all fans in attendance.

"There are a lot of positive things going on," Weaver said.

Weaver said the team also this offseason has increased focus on the suite, terrace suite and club seat sections of EverBank Field, and that more suites already have been sold this season compared to last. Weaver said the team re-priced part of the East Club and increased efforts to educate the market on available ticketing options toward that end.

"We're getting creative on working with people," he said. "There is an aggressive effort to sell a lot of that premium inventory. It's about educating the market on all the different products we have.

"One of the things we've learned is we needed to educate the consumer. People really didn't understand what we have – that you can rent suites by the single game, that you can rent cabanas by the single game, that you can get club suites by single game.

"We've tried to understand what people's needs are, then tried to adapt what we have to something that works for them."

The team on Tuesday is holding what Weaver called a "Terrace Suite Showcase event," with about 200 executives from area companies expected to attend.

"You have two things you have to look at," Weaver said. "You have the general bowl, which we have to sell to avoid the blackout, but from a revenue standpoint in order to move up in the rankings within the league we have to sell the premium areas.

"We are focused in the general bowl and doing a lot in the premium areas."

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