Jags unveil 'stadium of future' with covered seats
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — The Jacksonville Jaguars unveiled conceptual designs for their “stadium of the future” on Wednesday, providing an initial glimpse into a billion-dollar-plus project that could determine the fate of the small-market franchise.
The renderings showed covered seating throughout a 62,000-seat, open-air stadium that includes a 360-degree concourse, which is four times wider than the current space. Capacity could be expanded to 71,500 for the annual Florida-Georgia rivalry, the Gator Bowl or a College Football Playoff game. The project also would include major improvements around the stadium, including a University of Florida satellite campus.
The Jaguars believe the proposal would create more opportunities to host major concerts, music festivals and the NFL draft. They stopped short of suggesting a second Super Bowl, clearly aware that the city’s lack of nearby hotels remain an obstacle.
“We have reached the end of this important and initial phase of this project — the design of the stadium we envision will be the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and serve our entire community for generations to come,” owner Shad Khan said in a statement.
Jacksonville is the only NFL franchise that hasn’t built a new stadium or undergone substantial renovations since the team entered the league 1995. Most recently, Tennessee and Buffalo approved deals to build new stadiums.
The Jaguars’ current lease at TIAA Bank Field expires at the end of the 2029 season, making this project critical to keeping the team in Jacksonville for the foreseeable future. Although the Jags did not release financial details of the plan, a political website reported that the total investment could cost as much as $2.068 billion.
Stadium improvements would cost between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion, according to a memorandum of understanding obtained by floridapolitics.com. A surrounding “sports district” would cost between $550 million and $668 million.
The overall tab would be a 50-50 split between the city and the Jaguars, according to the site, with the city footing much of the bill for the city-owned stadium and Khan picking up the tab for the surrounding areas.
The Jaguars have 14 community events planned over the next two weeks in which local residents and fans can learn more from team president Mark Lamping about the stadium designs and what the project would mean for residents.
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