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Downtown businesses prepare for Jags opener

11:10 PM, Sep 7, 2013   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Downtown businesses are prepping for a busy Sunday. Thousands of fans are expected to attend the Jaguars season opener and boost business for downtown restaurants and bars.

"It's a lot of work, we all just kind of congregate, we have meetings, make sure we're all on point and do the best we can to take care of all the customers," said Jaclynn Johnson, bartender at Chicago Pizza at The Landing.

Last year 62,907 fans attended the Jaguars season opener and this year businesses don't expect anything less.

"They come before the game and they watch the game and they also come after the game," said Johnson.

Johnny Rios is the General Manager of the new Jacksonville Sports Tavern, formerly the City Hall Pub. The pub closed down last month after the owner decided not to renew the lease. Now, the new management hopes to make it big this sports season.

"We want to support our home team, we're Jaguars. We're going to have a mural of a jaguar," explained Rios while describing plans for an art mural inside the tavern.

There are 88 restaurants in downtown Jacksonville, according to the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission. Rios hopes features like the new pool table he's added, will give fans a place to eat that's right in the center of the sports action.

NFL stats show the average attendance for Jags home games in 2012 was close to 65,000. If local businesses can keep most of those fans downtown, they're golden. 

"If we build a relationship, the people will love us, and they will come back," said Rios.

For a directory of Jacksonville bars and restaurants, click here.

First Coast News

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