JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A new coach and new renovations are bringing new life to the Jacksonville Jaguars and a Florida state senator wants to keep that positive momentum going with a new bill that would fund improvements to EverBank Field for years to come.
It's called the "Professional Sports Franchise Facilities" bill and according to Sen. Rob Bradley, it would bring $2 million a year for 30 years from the sales tax revenue generated at the stadium and direct it towards facility improvements. Improvements that owner Shad Khan has already started to pay for out of pocket as the more than 15-year-old stadium continues to age.
"We often continue to hear rumors for possible moves. I would like to put that to an end for all time" said Sen. Bradley.
The Jaguars' history is short, joining the NFL in 1995 as an expansion team, but it's been a passionate relationship between the city of Jacksonville and the team's fans. So, the senator wants to make sure EverBank Field is a major player in the entertainment world.
"The quality of HD TVs in the home now, with the Red Zone channel all these other things means the stadium experience has to be improved that much more every year."
Jeff Fingland, Manager of Sports Mania, sells Jaguar gear for a living and knows the impact the teams has on the city. Jags merchandise makes up 50 percent of their total volume of sales and that's for a team that finished 2-14 last season.
The Jaguars are in favor of the bill and team president Mark Lamping said in part in a statement to First Coast News:
"The Jaguars are encouraged that our First Coast legislative delegation agrees that we cannot risk Jacksonville being bypassed in favor of markets and venues with distinct competitive advantages."
And a city that supports the hometown team means home field advantage come game day.
First Coast News