From now until this team moves out of the Jacksonville, Florida area I want everyone to remain vigilant for “The Sky is falling” actions of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ management. The first instance of this is the team trying to milk an extra 4 million dollars from the city of Jacksonville. Essentially the money is the city’s share of a naming rights deal for Jacksonville Municipal Stadium. To understand this issue, we must remember that the city invested 121 million dollars to renovate the old Gator Bowl and help land Jacksonville a NFL franchise.
Over the years several companies have had naming rights for the stadium, but over the last three years the stadium has had no corporate sponsor. Now Ever Bank wants its name on the stadium and the city is owed 4.15 million this year as its share of a 16 million dollar take over the next five years. The naming rights deal as currently constructed calls for the city to give up its first payment of 4.15 million that would be used for improving city owned sports facilities.
I think the Jaguars have two ends here. One is to use the threat of relocation to get enough revenue to remain in Jacksonville, and two to increase the pressure on the city so one day the owner can simply say hey it didn’t work in Jacksonville and we are relocating. This is the first step in that process, to milk 4 million dollars away from the city who built their home facility.
In the end the city should let this one go, if the team tries to do it again they take a tougher stance, but the Jaguars should have had Ever Bank kick in enough money to cover the city’s end. The city and the team are partners in this, but they sure aren’t acting like it. This seems like the first concrete step toward the Jaguars moving to a new city.
*UPDATE The Jacksonville City Council has agreed to give up its entire 16 million dollar share of this deal. We should note that the deal is only for five years, so start the clock on a Jaguars relocation effort.