Jaguars.com Senior Editor Vic Ketchman is on vacation this week, so five "Ask Vic" readers were randomly selected to be "Vic For A Day." Each guest columnist was given a topic on which to write and the guest columnists' work will appear this week on jaguars.com. Bob Rutter, a native of Piscataway, N.J., who now lives in Neptune Beach, Fla., is today's guest columnist and his assigned topic is: What needs to happen for the Jaguars to sell-out Alltel Stadium?
By Bob Rutter
The excitement and frenzy we all had in the beginning is gone. The anticipation and competition against other cities led to frenzy at the beginning like this town had never seen. We would have traded our first-born just to get tickets back then.
Now people can walk up and get tickets cheap the day of the game. We are all 10 years older and don't want to commit to every other Sunday and spend that much money. If we can't watch it on TV, we'll walk up and get a ticket, if it's a nice day.
That would seem to be the attitude that's evolved among Jaguars fans since the initial excitement for the team subsided.
Our group started out with 30 couples all sitting together tailgating and really having a great time. As time passed, the wives got tired and bored with it and we are down to about five couples. Most of the wives don't come any more and the fellows don't commit to season tickets. The wives did most of the work and, of course, control all the money.
Born and raised a Giants fan, the only time we got to go to a game was when the weather was bad and one of the corporate big-wigs didn't go. Corporations and family members who inherited tickets had all of the tickets. We don't have enough corporations buying up the tickets in Jacksonville.
So what's the solution to the ticket-sales problem in Jacksonville? Here are some ideas.
Make the "Bud Zone" for the young, single people out to meet and party. In Tampa, near the pirate ship, there's a singles bar kind of place; everybody socializing and football secondary. It's the place to be seen. Provide better music, better announcing and blow something up when we score. Make a spectacular celebration when we win.
As I stated above, our group started with over 30 couples, but now we are down to five. Contact group leaders and come up with package deals to try to get these groups back.
Have a "Church Zone," a "Family Kid Zone, a "West Side Zone," a "Beaches Zone," a "Teen Zone" and a "Senior Zone." Put people who will get along together near each other.
We go on a road trip to at least one away game every year. Get the Jaguars involved in helping organize these trips. Make it easy to get seats, hotel accommodations and travel arrangements. Make the fans feel a part of the organization.
We traveled to Chicago a few years ago and when leaving Soldier Field we passed the team buses. Tom Coughlin and the players let all the Jaguars fans come and take pictures and talk while they were waiting to load. Little things like that make you feel part of the organization.
The live radio show after the games is good. Have the Weavers, coaches and players on. Give us something to celebrate, not just go sit in traffic.
Try having more of Jeff Lageman dissecting games. He is excellent and the die-hard football people would like to see more of his work.
I like the no-interest monthly payment plan I have had since year one. This makes it real easy for me to keep my season tickets.
Oh, and win!