Early returns have the Jaguars way ahead of their ticket-sales pace of the last two years, and the team's chief financial officer is giving the credit to the "Touchdown Jacksonville!" and "Team Teal" movements.
"I think it's two things, but the biggest influence is probably what 'Touchdown Jacksonville!' and 'Team Teal' have done to raise awareness. The other thing is the economy. People probably have more confidence in it this January than they did last January," Jaguars CFO Bill Prescott said on Thursday.
The numbers offer stunning encouragement.
"As of last week, we had about 1,300 season tickets sold. That's strictly general bowl seats. I don't know if we'll get to 2,000 (by the end of the month), but we'll be closing on that amount," Prescott said.
In contrast, the Jaguars sold just over 2,200 general-bowl season tickets all of last season. They sold only 13 season tickets in Jan. of 2009 and sold no season tickets in Jan. of '08, even though the team was coming off a playoff season.
Prescott believes the big turnout for the Indianapolis game triggered the rush of sales. He believes a lot of fans that had drifted away from attending games returned to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium that night and discovered how much they miss it.
"It's given us a second chance to reconnect with fans who have left us for one reason or another," Prescott said of the "Revive the Pride" movement by "Touchdown Jacksonville!" that filled the general bowl for the game against the Colts, arguably the most exciting game of the Jaguars' season. "It raised awareness that we have to get the general bowl filled to remain viable in this market place."
Prescott announced plans to post ticket sales and renewal updates on jaguars.com beginning in early Feb.
"Because of the public awareness and interest, we want to be very transparent," Prescott said. "I think it's off to a great start. We have to maintain the momentum. The sales are the groundswell of what 'Team Teal' and Tony Boselli are doing."
Should the movements result in a sold-out general bowl for next season's games, "what it would mean is our games will get on TV and it's important that we maintain that. We can't have a 60 percent renewal rate the next year," Prescott said. "It's a very good start but we have a long ways to go."