Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver met with local media today and the conversation covered several topics. Weaver talked about his vision for the franchise, the goals for ticket sales for the upcoming season, and the need to continue building the team through the draft.
Here's a sampling of some of Weaver's comments:
- "We do have some holes on our football team that we will have to fill some with free agency, but our model is to go from the draft, which has been consistent. And I think under Gene Smith we have really stuck to that model of taking the best player and really building this team through the draft, and its working."
- "I really have high hopes for this team in 2011 but as I've said we have some things we have to fix on our football team and hopefully we do that through free agency this year, if we have a free agency period, and through the draft."
- "What we have to do to make sure that people come to our stadium on Sundays, or Monday nights or Thursdays, whatever it may be, and we have to make sure that we deliver an experience that you just can't get at home. You can't get at home the excitement of being there for a 59-yard field goal. You can't be at home and get the excitement of a Hail Mary at the end of the game. You've got to be there for those events."
- "One of the things that we're committed to do is not only making sure that we build this football team, but to deliver the best possible experience for our fans to come to the stadium. We want our fans to say that they have to be in the stadium to experience Jaguars football. So those are our goals."
- "Our goal is that we need to sell about four-to-five thousand new season tickets every year to make sure that we're building our season ticket base, and I think if we do that we'll get up into those high 40s with our season ticket base and that's traditionally where we've been over the 16 years."
- (on a new CBA) "I'm hopeful that between now and March 3rdthat we'll come to a meeting of the minds and it'll be a give and take and we'll get something worked out, but I can't predict one way or the other whether that's where it stands."
- (on plan if there is a lockout) "Our position is that it's going to be business as usual. We still have to go out and do the things that we're planning to do. My position is we're going to play football at some point this year, so we're going to have to continue to do the things we do and so I don't see any layoffs."
- (on whether team will be active if there is free agency) "I think we know that we have a couple slots that we need to get better at. We know we can't do everything we need to do to fix that in the draft, and so if there's a player or two or whatever that's out there that can come in and really help this football team then we're going to be open to that. We're just not going to make the mistakes that we made in the past."
- "We've gotten some really great national press this year because we moved from I think 29thin 2009 in tickets distributed to 23rdin the league, which I thought was a huge testament to this community and the way the community stepped up. I give great accolades to our Team Teal leadership, the mayor and his support of those efforts. So I'm really proud of what we were able to accomplish."
- "I personally think that we're going to be able to continue that momentum. Now the reason I say that is there's no risk for the fan. We've said if we don't play games we're going to refund your money, so there's really no risk to the fans. And so we're asking the fans to come in and support us, continue to build this momentum that we've got going in Jacksonville as being a great NFL city."
- "One of the things that I take from this Super Bowl that was just played is it's pretty inspirational to small and mid-size markets to see two small markets in the Super Bowl. It tells you there's no reason that we can't be there, that any small market can't be there, or a mid-size market. So we're just saying to our fans we need your support, we need your help. We need season tickets, buy season tickets. If we don't play football (because of labor situation), you can get a refund."
- "I think the really biggest thing that resonated last year that created success from that is that people believe that we are an NFL market. They believe that we just need to grow."
- (on how his health is and his plans for the future of the franchise) "You want to go for a three-mile run? Let's go, I'll go with you. I'm committed to this team. It's the best job I've ever had in my life. I'm not wanting to give it up anytime soon but I have to be honest, at some point I do have to have an exit strategy. I've been very candid about that. I'm not out looking for an exit strategy. If it comes it would have to meet certain criteria. It would have to be someone who is as passionate about Jacksonville as I am. It's someone who would have the same vision of building the legacy of what we started the past 16 years and whatever years that follow, and keeping the team here in Jacksonville. Those are the things that I believe are very important for me to even consider talking about selling the team."