Wayne Weaver called it a game-changer. All around the room, there was a sense of optimism that the future of the NFL in Jacksonville had brightened.
The Jaguars will play their home games at EverBank Field this season, and for the four seasons after that and, if you trust EverBank Chairman and CEO Rob Clements, for a lot of years after that, too. Weaver, Clements and Jacksonville City Council President Jack Webb joined forces in the south end zone terrace suite at the former Jacksonville Municipal Stadium on Tuesday to announce the name change and to proclaim the future of the Jaguars cemented in Jacksonville.
"I clearly think it's a game-changer," Weaver said of the five-year deal, the details of which were to be submitted at Tuesday evening's city council meeting.
"It's our belief that this partnership will continue," said Clements. "It reflects our strong conviction in this team and in this city. We are major stakeholders in this city and we believe we're going to have a long-term relationship with the team."
Webb was substituting for Mayor John Peyton, who was out of town on previously-committed business. Peyton started the ball rolling on the "Team Teal" movement last fall and the momentum of the mayor's initiative carried the Jaguars and EverBank through the offseason and into Tuesday's landmark announcement, three days prior to the start of training camp.
"This naming rights deal helps solidify a place for the Jaguars forever in Jacksonville," Webb said. "Anything that benefits the Jaguars ultimately benefits the city and everybody who lives here."
So what's in it for the team, EverBank and the city?
Well, with this deal, the Jaguars sent a message to the rest of the league and to critics that claim Jacksonville is not a viable NFL market, that it can drive the kind of revenue necessary to compete in the NFL. EverBank's image immediately takes on hero status in Jacksonville, which should be very good for business. The city and its residents will benefit the most, of course, if this deal is, in fact, a game-changer and goes on to protect the future of the Jaguars in Jacksonville, for there's no denying the economic impact the Jaguars have had on Jacksonville.
"Today's announcement demonstrates (EverBank's) confidence that Jacksonville is a viable football market," said Weaver.
"The momentum is growing for the Jaguars. Today's announcement is another step in the longevity of the Jaguars in Jacksonville," Webb added.
Jaguars Senior V.P. of Sales and Marketing Macky Weaver wears the laurels for having closed the deal. Weaver was promoted to his new position this past spring.
"We've had ongoing discussions with EverBank for a couple of years. People are thanking them, thanking them," Weaver said of the public's reaction to the news. "At the end of the day, they are a hero."
EverBank Field joins 19 other NFL stadiums bearing corporate names.
Why EverBank Field and not EverBank Stadium?
"We thought it had a more contemporary sound. We like it. We think it's pretty cool," Clements said.
Hey, what's in a name, right? In this case, a lot.