JACKSONVILLE – The Jaguars have encouraged fans to Stand United all offseason.
The city is encouraging it, too, with the team and city now making Fridays a day for the individuals, business, schools and military members to officially Stand United in support of the Jaguars.
Jaguars President Mark Lamping, along with Jaguars General Manager David Caldwell, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown and other city leaders gathered at City Hall Tuesday to announce a series of new fan initiatives known as Stand United Fridays.
"This is a very important day for us," Lamping said.
"What a great idea and what a great time to join together in time for football Sunday," Caldwell. "Nobody's more excited about this weekend than myself. From the time I got to Jacksonville, the first thing that I noticed about the community and the city was the excitement and energy around the Jacksonville Jaguars. It was one of our main missions to match that energy and excitement amongst our team and our locker room. We feel like we've done that. We're excited and the energy is high.
"The only thing I can ask you is on Fridays, wear it proud, and bring it loud on Sundays."
In addition to the Stand United Friday initiative, Lamping also revealed that EverBank Field this season will feature a sign at field level in the North End Zone that reads, "Welcome to Jacksonville, Florida." Lamping said the sign is indicative of the importance of the relationship between the football team and its public and private partners.
The sign will be unveiled Sunday for the Jaguars' 2013 regular-season home opener against the Kansas City Chiefs.
There will be a free Stand United Fan Pep Rally at EverBank Field Thursday from 6:30-7:30 in the South End Zone and Bud Light Party Zone. Caldwell and Head Coach Gus Bradley will speak at the event, which is free. Doors open at 6 p.m.
"This is not just a team," Brown said. "The Jaguars are our team."
With the regular-season home opener Sunday, this week also marks the first Stand United Friday, an initiative that includes:
*Businesses being encouraged to by allow employees to wear Jaguars colors and merchandise on Fridays before games, decorating offices and displaying Stand United decals. The JAX Chamber will distribute decals throughout the week, with businesses displaying the decals having a chance to win monthly prizes from the team, including game tickets. Businesses may request a decal at www.jaguars.com/standunited.
*A monthly Stand United competition, inviting businesses and schools to show support of the Jaguars on Fridays by submitting photos of how their establishment looks on Stand United Fridays.. Entries will be posted on the team's Facebook page. Entries with the most votes each month will win tickets for their office or classroom for a home game. Photos should be submitted to www.jaguars.com/standunited.
*The team designating the November 17 home game against Arizona as the team's Stand United Salute to Service military appreciation game. More than 5,000 military members will be invited to attend the game with their families.
*A region-wide Jaguars scavenger hunt on Fridays prior to home games. The hunt is open to the public, with participants having a chance to find Jaguars helmets signed by Jaguars Owner Shad Khan, Bradley and key players. The helmets will be hidden throughout the region, with clues provided at www.jaguars.com. One helmet will be hidden on the Friday before each Jaguars home game.
*A program of 130 bars region-wide with Jaguars appearances and promotions. Twenty bars will host Stand United Friday rallies throughout the season. Details can be found at www.jaguars.com/standunited.
*A citywide display of Stand United, with Friendship Fountain in downtown Jacksonville turning teal each Friday, and the Jaguars promoting the 2013 schedule with bold signage at Jacksonville International Airport.
"This is an initiative that would not be possible without the great partnership and leadership from the mayor's office, the council president's office and the local business community," Lamping said.