No Tim Tebow, no problem.
The Jaguars sold 350 new season tickets at Saturday's "Select-A-Seat" event and the team's Chief Financial Officer, Bill Prescott, is optimistic that this Thursday's ticket-sales update will send the team to an all-time high for new season ticket sales in a year.
"We have a long way to go but in 2003 we sold about 8,800 new season tickets in the general bowl. That's the most we ever sold since the first sale when we got the team. As of last Thursday, we were at 8,100 new season tickets in the general bowl and I think this Thursday we will surpass that 8,800 level," Prescott told jaguars.com on Tuesday.
Saturday marked the first time the Jaguars allowed fans that weren't season-ticket holders to view seats in the stadium during the annual "Select-A-Seat" event. Those in attendance were also granted admission to the "Team Teal" event in the south end zone, where there was food, beverage, autograph signing, an appearance by the cheerleaders and an address from owner Wayne Weaver.
So, as the Jaguars were capping a draft that began with an outcry for not having picked Tebow, the Florida Gators' star quarterback, the Jaguars were taking a major step toward their goal of filling the general bowl for the 2010 season and guaranteeing that all ten home games will be televised locally.
"We're just at the start of the selling season. We still have a long way to go but we're off to a great start," Prescott said.
What will it cost the Jaguars for not having drafted Tebow?
"It's not going to cost us anything. I think our fans, just like we believe in the process Gene is going through, are confident in the decisions we're making," Prescott added, referring to General Manager Gene Smith. "You can't make a decision on a football player you think is going to sell tickets. You have to do what is right for the team long term. They're making the best decisions for the good of the franchise."
Smith wheeled and dealed through a draft that brings seven new faces to the roster. That number includes veteran middle linebacker Kirk Morrison, who was acquired in a trade. Smith also acquired a fourth-round pick in next year's draft in another trade.
"We have confidence in the decisions they're making and the fact that 350 people showed up and bought season tickets says a lot about the fans being behind the team and what it's doing. What we have to do as a franchise is make them know we're doing everything we can to put a competitive football team on the field and, with the draft last year and this year, I think the fans believe that," Prescott said. "We have to have a competitive football team, affordable tickets and a great game-day experience. I think we have those three."