JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …
Holger from Jacksonville
Is the small-market size just an excuse, really? Comparable markets are New Orleans and Green Bay, for example, and the main difference is these have had winning products on the football field. More focus should be in that area of the organization, and the lack of changes there this season is not really congruent with the actions taken on the issue of local revenues.
The small market in Jacksonville is a reality – both in terms of population and overall income, as well as the limited number of large area businesses capable of NFL-level corporate partnerships and sponsorships. To say this is not to insult the market or the fans who live here. It's certainly not to say the fans who have supported this team for 25 years aren't doing their part. It's simply to say that the dynamics of this market are such that creative revenue streams are needed here more than in other NFL markets. The Green Bay Packers have existed for nearly 100 years; the New Orleans Saints have existed for more than 50. The Packers have a national fan base based on their tradition. The Saints have won consistently for the last decade – and that, as you mentioned, has helped their situation. Yes, the Jaguars need to win more – and that without question would help. But it would still not be enough to solve all revenue issues facing this team and that will face it over the coming years. As far as the football operations, there is not a lack of "focus" by the Jaguars. NFL owners with rare exceptions concentrate little on the day-to-day football operations. The Jaguars have general managers, scouting, a head coach, assistants and players focused on football just as much as every other NFL team. They have not done this as well as other teams, but there is no difference in focus.
Steve from AB
I am a busy man, Zone. I have a lot of plans for this fall and would like to go to a Jaguars London game or two. When will I know the dates?
The London dates will be announced when the NFL releases its schedule in mid-April.
Darren from Jacksonville
Correct me if I'm wrong, but aren't the Jaguars a privately-owned business? If that is true, Owner Shad Khan can have them play their games wherever he wants. The only thing I object to is the idea that we have to support the business and then spend our tax money to support on top of that. We contribute to Lot J so he can make more money and then we need to contribute to the stadium, then buy tickets and merch. I don't know ... his business, he needs to pay. I have a business and you know who pays for it ... me.
The Jaguars are a privately-owned business, but if you don't like the idea of cities paying some amount – and in many cases, a large amount – to be involved with a professional sports team, you probably don't want to follow professional sports.
Keith from Palatka, FL
When do you anticipate Khan moving another home game to London to bolster the bottom line?
I don't anticipate this – provided Lot J is approved and the Jaguars/city continue to develop downtown Jacksonville.
Robert from St. Augustine, FL
Yeah, the Jags are a business, but what about public trust? What responsibility does this organization have to its fans? In recent years that trust has been challenged and at times severely compromised. We've heard all the reasons and excuses for losing and why they do what they do but the results are usually the same – not very good. At some point, hopefully not this year, this organization is going to experience the "straw that broke the camel's back." Sadly, the real losers are going to be the loyal Jags fans.
The Jaguars have a couple of responsibilities to fans – to do whatever they can to win and to do whatever they can to keep the franchise stable in Jacksonville. The Jaguars are doing that. They're not doing the first part well enough, but they are nonetheless doing it.
Mark from Richmond, VA
I'm a Day One Jags fan. I've been to plenty of games and I am a total fanatic. I understand what Shad is doing, though. Look to other teams and the cities they are in. Hate to say it but you just can't have a stadium in the middle of empty land in a part of town that isn't buzzing. The game-day experience can't just be a bunch fans circled up slapping bags of Fireball and shot-gunning beers. There needs to be something surrounding the game that might not just involve football and it needs to be built and it takes time and money. Boozing in empty parking lots all day before a game may put 5,000 butts in the seats but we need 70,000 butts in the seats. Look at all the four major leagues and look at the stadiums and how much fun the surrounding area is. The Jags don't have that, and they need it to survive.
Jeremy from Omaha, NE
You haven't explained Khan's lame excuse about local revenue and how the NFL's profit-sharing construct explains more games in London. Just add another vote for me of those who don't care anymore of the team moves. Sincerely, a fan from the beginning.
A reader not liking the explanation and the writer not explaining are not the same thing.
Ken from Jacksonville
I'm sure I'm in the minority, but I like the London games. It gives me a reason to drink beer at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning.
Tyler from Jacksonville
Is Lot J so much a reimagining of downtown Jacksonville, as it is an expensive replacement for The Jacksonville Landing? And how does this work, are we supposed to give a bunch of tax incentives to build essentially another mall, where we are expected to consume at a level to make as much money as New York or LA teams? What if people still prefer the Town Center to Lot J? Beautiful name by the way, Lot J … It really inspires that it is an actual intended plan.
Lot J isn't remotely the Landing, and it's not remotely "a mall." It's a redeveloping of downtown Jacksonville on a scale that dwarfs either concept. It involves business, residences and hotel space at a level that would change how residents and visitors alike view downtown. I understand those who only know downtown Jacksonville in its current state have difficulty imagining what essentially would be a rebuilt city. Sometimes, it takes fresh eyes to imagine change on an epic scale. This is one of those times.
Ken from Jacksonville
Michael wants to know why should we as fans care about local revenue? Because without sufficient revenue, teams can't sign big-name free agents. More and more NFL contracts have substantial guaranteed money. Per the Collective Bargaining Agreement, the full amount of the guaranteed money has to be put into an escrow account and can't be used by the team. That means teams must have that amount in CASH to sign free agents, and you only have that kind of cash by having a reliable revenue stream.
Ryan from Reality
John, did I read somewhere that it'll take three whole years to complete Lot J development? Does that mean only six home games for the next three seasons? Or if Lot J doesn't bring in enough additional revenue will we continue with six home games until the Shipyards get completed which would probably take an additional three-to-five years? Is this all a leverage play to get the city to speed up approvals and construction?
My understanding is that three years is about right for completing the first phase of Lot J. We're not talking about a strip mall here. We're talking about changing the infrastructure of a large part of the areas surrounding TIAA Bank Field. As for how many games the Jaguars will play in London and for how long, the current contract calls for two home games in London in 2020. I would say there's a chance that could happen until Lot J is complete and bringing in revenue. I think there's much less of a chance of two games in London continuing after that so long as Lot J and the developments are thriving.
Tom from Ssaaaint Joooohns, FL
Good grief! What a bunch of butthurt whiners we are! I'll admit I've considered not renewing my season ticket (singular since my son joined the military) but the weeping and moaning over the second London game is hard to take. We're all entitled to our opinion but choosing not to support the team because they are trying everything they can to make this work financially is just sad.
I'm 53 and the word butthurt still makes me giggle.