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"...Never Doubt Jacksonville": City and Jaguars Celebrate Stadium of the Future Approval

062624-Deal Is Done

JACKSONVILLE – This was a good day, a memorable day.

The Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville celebrated a historic day on Wednesday, one day after Jacksonville City Council voted to approve the "Stadium of the Future."

"Indeed it's a great day," Jaguars Owner Shad Khan said.

Such was the mood around the Miller Electric Center Wednesday – with Khan, Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan, Jaguars President Mark Lamping and City of Jacksonville Chief Negotiator Mike Weinstein speaking to the media a day after the historic vote.

Khan and Deegan during a press conference at the Miller Electric Center signed a historical proclamation shortly after noon.

"What a great exhale today is," Deegan said. "What a wonderful day."

The Jaguars, originally awarded to Jacksonville as an expansion team in 1993, began playing in the NFL in 1995 and will play their 30th season this season. Tuesday's vote secured the Jaguars' future in the city – with the proposal including a 30-year lease, a non-relocation agreement and a provision limiting number of games to be played outside Jacksonville.

"Everyone wants to doubt Jacksonville," Khan said. "As of last night, that should no longer be the case. People can move on with other stuff. Not a good day for the Doubting Thomases."

Khan, who now will have invested more than $1 billion in Jacksonville during his time as Jaguars owner, shared a message with Jaguars fans.

"This day and tomorrow is yours; never doubt Jacksonville," he said.

Deegan called Wednesday "a really exciting day for our city."

Khan and Deegan both discussed the proposal as a way of stopping a longtime out-of-market narrative of the Jaguars leaving Jacksonville.

“I hope you all believe now...Jacksonville very often has had a bit of an inferiority complex. Let's believe in ourselves. Shad believes in us. The Jaguars believe in us. Hopefully, the evidence of this agreement is that we are going to make this a successful partnership for many decades to come.” Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan

Khan said it's not particularly his nature to worry about the opinion of outsiders.

"Actions always speak louder than words," Khan said. "From Day 1, it has been to justify our actions, so I get no particular joy out of proving people wrong."

Deegan jokingly said, "Unlike Shad, I do enjoy proving people wrong. I want to say, I'm very petty in this process. I've saved every article, every negative tweet, every, 'No way they're ever going to get this done.' I've saved them all.

"I'm relishing that today. I don't know if there's anything more Duval than that."

City Council voted 14-1 with two abstentions in favor of the proposal. Stadium construction is scheduled to begin in February 2025, with the stadium expected to open in August 2028. The team is expected to play home games away from Jacksonville in 2027.

The team is expected to play home games in Jacksonville in reduced capacity in 2026.

2024_0626_SOTFMediaJacksonville Jaguars We Did It Again New Stadium Announcement Media Day-27

"It's my honor to publicly express my gratitude to the mayor and her staff; Ron Salem, city council president; and many others who gave everything they had," Khan said. "In four years, we'll retire the term stadium of the future.

"It's finally going to be done and complete."

Khan also on Wednesday recognized Wayne and Delores Weaver, the original Jaguars from whom he purchased the team in 2011.

"The future doesn't happen if it's not for the commitment to Jacksonville made more than 30 years ago by Dolores and Wayne Weaver," Khan said. "I'll always be humble that Wayne trusted me to carry on the Jaguars' tradition in Jacksonville, a city that he and Dolores have always loved.

"I love Jacksonville immensely and I especially love what's possible here."

All parties involved lauded the collaborative nature of negotiations. The Jaguars began researching and studying the Stadium of the Future in 2016, beginning the planning process in 2020. They first presented the proposals publicly in June 2023.

Deegan, whose term in office began in July 2023, called the vote "an incredibly proud moment."

"I cannot even begin to tell you how hard everybody worked," she said. "We knew the vision we wanted to get to. We knew we wanted to get to yes. We started off saying we both wanted to get to yes and we worked very hard together to make that happen.

"I knew coming in this would be something that we would be dealing with. It became a top focus wanting to move through it as efficiently and quickly as possible, getting the best deal for all involved. Fortunately, Mark and Shad were on that same page.

"It's just a real point of pride that not only were we able to bring this in for a landing and have the Jaguars be with us for 30 more years, but all that portends for the rest of the city as we look to grow our downtown and create the type of city that we all really want to have and believe we should have. So very proud today and frankly, relieved to get it over the finish line."

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