AFC South: Jacksonville Municipal Stadium
The new sponsor is set to be Jacksonville-based EverBank.
The Jaguars have not had a stadium naming-rights deal since 2006, and for a team whose home games were blacked out for the bulk of last season any revitalized revenue stream is a big deal.
According to the report:
"The city's lease with the team calls for the Jaguars to keep 75 percent of any revenue from the sale of naming rights to the stadium, with the city receiving 25 percent."
The Jacksonville Times-Union believes it will be a five-year deal. Does that indicate anything about the team's long-term presence in town? Or are there outs should the Jags fail in Jacksonville and wind up on the move?
It’s a good development for the Jags, but perhaps a bad one for sports fans who have trouble recalling which bank has its name on which venue.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
» Complete stadium ratings: Team-by-team glance
Houston Texans (Reliant Stadium, capacity 71,054)
Reliant Stadium is an impressive building that fits right into the love Texas has for all things big, though it’s not to the scale of Cowboys Stadium. The one-time Eighth Wonder of the World, the Astrodome, sits beside Reliant, and seems like a small pod preparing to dock with the mother ship.
Upstairs is pretty steep, but it seems to me there is a good view from everywhere in the building, which also serve as the team’s headquarters. When the retractable roof is closed, it can be awfully loud in there. Ticket-buyers just need more to cheer about. Smartly designed to fit soccer games, too.
Wow factor: 4.5 wows (out 0f 5)
Indianapolis Colts (Lucas Oil Stadium, capacity 63,000)
|Tom Hauck/Getty Images|
|The Colts are in their second season playing in Lucas Oil Stadium.|
Entering its second season as the replacement for the RCA Dome, Lucas Oil Stadium has an exceptionally airy feeling for a retractable roof stadium even when everything is closed. The roof parts side to side rather than end to end, and a gigantic window facing the city also opens. (Shadows cast on the field with the roof open last Sunday made for some difficult TV watching, some viewers said.)
You can walk to it from virtually any downtown hotel or restaurant, and you’re better off eating before the game because the food offerings are one giant weakness. It’s a unique building that surpasses Reliant by just a touch as the division’s best.
Wow factor: 5 wows
Jacksonville Jaguars (Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, capacity 67,164)
I’ve long said it’s an underrated venue, but it’s a pretty straightforward building with no discernible bells and whistles, which is why it would be better if it had more neighborhood surroundings. It also serves as home to the Jaguars' headquarters and the annual Georgia-Florida game.
Lots of people like to point out that the team’s ticket-sales struggles come despite the tarps covering large sections of seats. But even minus those seats, the place holds more than either Soldier Field and Heinz Field. I’d put it at the top of the bottom tier, but I’d sure rather watch a game there than in venues like the ones in San Francisco, San Diego, St. Louis or Minnesota.
Wow factor: 1.5 wows
Tennessee Titans (LP Field, capacity 69,143)
The best thing about LP Field is location. Fans can park or party in the heart of downtown, then walk over one of a couple bridges in 10 minutes and get to the game. The building that’s been known as Adelphia Coliseum, the Coliseum and now LP Field was not overbuilt. Open concourses behind just one level of stands in both end zones provide a nice, open feel.
Recent updates improved the scoreboards and JumboTrons. It's also soccer ready. But measured against many other buildings we’ve seen pop up since 1999 -- like those in Indy, Houston, Seattle, Denver, Philadelphia and New England -- LP doesn’t rank as a place for pizzazz. I rank it middle of the pack.
Wow factor: 2 wows
Since writing about the Jaguars' decision not to have their preseason television partner produce their two home preseason games, I've fielded some questions about what constitutes a sellout at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.
Those two preseason games won't sell out, so they couldn't be telecast live under the league's blackout rules. The team and the network decided producing the games to air on tape-delay was not worth it.
But I was overly simplistic to indicate the team's blackout problems were about the tickets sold -- fewer than 40,000 per game at this point when adding up season tickets and half packs, but prior to single-game ticket sales -- measured against capacity (listed at 67,164).
I just talked with Tim Connolly, the team's vice president of business development, and asked him to spell out what constitutes a sellout in the rules regarding blackouts.
He said that number is 50,000, calling it "the general bowl." There are between 14,000 and 15,000 premiums seats as well -- suites, terrace suites and club seats. For the league's blackout purposes, 11,000 of those are "club seats" and do not count against the blackout total.
There are other wrinkles with the numbers there, obviously, since the 50,000 general bowl number plus the league's 11,000 club seats still don't get us to capacity.
But for our purposes, 50,000 is the key number. If the Jags can get there, they get on TV. If they can't, they don't.
And there is nothing going on in Jacksonville to suggest the Jaguars have a chance at getting to that number regularly, if at all. The team certainly isn't pretending like all will be well, though it says it's hardly alone in the challenges it's facing in the tough economy.
The Jaguars have time, and maybe they'll have a shot for the home opener against Arizona or for games against AFC South foes Indianapolis and Tennessee or for the Dolphins' visit. Things will have to be going awfully well for it to happen when St. Louis and Kansas City come to town.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Rick Gosselin shows that a team doesn't need a Pro Bowl receiver to succeed.
- Matt Schaub followed up an errant tee shot with multiple apologies, writes Scott Sonner.
- Lance Zierlein considers the Texans' Madden ratings.
- Will Kyle Shanahan end up working on Mike Shanahan's staff if and when he resurfaces? Alan Burge contemplates the question.
- Charley Casserly doesn't belong near a Texans Ring of Honor, says Burge.
- Matt Sohn expects Melvin Bullitt to be platooned with Bob Sanders to keep Sanders fresh. (Thanks to Stampede Blue for the link.)
- Catching up with John Oehser's 20 questions series building up to camp: Will Adam Vinatieri be ready for the season? Will the receivers be better?
- Rod Woodson thinks the Colts won't make the playoffs, says Oehser.
- Oehser found this Cedar Rapids report on Dallas Clark back at the beginning.
- The team Web site looks at tight end Jacob Tamme.
- Mike Chappell talked to Reggie Wayne at his annual charity basketball game.
- Michael Vick could help generate excitement for the Jaguars, says Vinnie Iyer. New GM Gene Smith has done a lot of work on team character since taking over. No matter what his stance on second chances, this move would not fit with that.
- Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is unlikely to have a new name this season, says Mark Basch.
- Matt Jones is hoping for another chance. Michael C. Wright talked to the former Jacksonville receiver.
- Five questions the Titans hope to answer during training camp, from Jim Wyatt.
- Kerry Collins is in control of the Titans' quarterback situation, writes Wyatt.
- The Titans and Kyle Vanden Bosch have had preliminary conversations about the defensive end's future, writes Terry McCormick. I bet the agents for a lot of guys set to be free agents in 2010 have had these sorts of chats.
- Sean Payton's substitute Monday Morning Quarterback includes his recollections of Steve McNair. Like so many, Payton incorrectly remembers the Titans as one yard from winning Super Bowl XXXIV when they were one yard from tying it.
KC Joyner considers Duane Brown and the Texans' turning the ball over.
Pete Prisco thinks the Texans could emerge as a playoff team.
Eric Winston sees big things for the Texans offensive line in its second year with Alex Gibbs, says houstontexans.com.
John Oehser's 20 Questions series continues with No. 4: Will the Colts miss Tony Dungy?
Repairs on exterior lights of Lucas Oil Stadium are underway, writes Dan McFeely.
Peyton Manning isn't concerned about the Colts' changes.
An assessment of Jamie Silva, from Oehser.
The Jaguars are offering new ticket packages that increase affordability and flexibility.
Missed this one: linebackers are at the heart of the defensive retooling, from jaguars.com.
Vic Ketchman contemplates the lifespan of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium in his newest mailbag.
Steve McNair's final resting place is an unassuming one in an old, small cemetery, writes Jessica Bliss.
Former Titans receiver Derrick Mason is retiring.
Last week I posed this question: What one philosophical tendency, trend, tenet or practice would you like to see the Jaguars change, and why?
As opposed to some previous questions you've encountered here, I wasn't looking to reach any sort of consensus, just to stir some debate. Based on your responses, I think we got that.
So here's the best of what you had to say with some of my thoughts interspersed. Thanks for all the quality responses.
Steve in Jacksonville: The Jaguars need to have a tough competitive camp. For the past two years, Jack has been a little soft on the players. The team paid the price losing in both instances to the Titans. Two years ago, they managed to bounce back and get a little hot at the end of the season. I'd rather see blood, sweat, and tears to get everyone battle ready!
Paul Kuharsky: I really think Jack Del Rio is reassessing everything based on last year's failures. While his camp philosophy has been to keep it somewhat light, I wouldn't be surprised if he turns it up as he looks to help his team re-establish its physical identity.
Keith in Jacksonville: Simple: Get Greg Jones back in good health so he can go back to the caliber football he played at Florida State....you only need type his name into youtube to see what I'm talking about. Much love to Mojo and a bittersweet good riddens to the Gator, but now let's give the football to the big double 3 and get the Jags run game back to what it used to be.
Paul Kuharsky: I don't know that Jones at his best is going to fix what ails the Jaguars or qualifies as a change in philosophy, but I appreciate your enthusiasm.
Tom in Jacksonville: Magic Wand comment: I would like to see the Jaguars solve the "Houston problem". Even in the years when Jacksonville fields a good team and the Texans do not, they either split or get swept. It just seems the Texans have their number.
Paul Kuharsky: There is no philosophical tenet that's led to Jacksonville's struggles with Houston, I don't think. Nevertheless, this is a big issue they need to figure out. The Jaguars are 6-8 all-time against Houston, have swept the season series only once (2005), have been swept twice and have split four times including last season. The Colts and Titans, meanwhile, have records of 13-1 and 11-3, respectively, against the Texans.
The problem from a Jacksonville angle is this: The Texans are moving from division pushover territory to Serious Threatland.
Will in Jacksonville: That's easy. The Jags need to change there Scouting Department. Both Pro and College. Lets look at the evidence, R J Soward, Reggie Williams, Byron Leftwich, etc... Bryce Paup, Hugh Douglas, Jerry Porter, etc... Every team misses but can you think of a team that misses more outside of Detroit than Jacksonville?
Paul Kuharsky: First-round failures and free-agent busts have been issues, of course. The Jaguars have sworn off big free-agent shopping, so that side of things should be less of an issue.
And new GM Gene Smith is now calling the shots, which should provide some hope that the draft strategy and analysis changes in ways that will improve the hit rate at the top. But we'll have to wait and see.
JvilleJag2 in Jacksonville: Well since we're talking about the Jaguars and Jack Del Rio is head coach of the Jags I'll say I wish he would hold onto his assistant coaches. I don't think any other head coach since Del Rio's been hired has fired more assistants. I understand some positions are going to underachieve but that doesn't mean the coach has to be canned. I think it's a blemish on Del Rio's record and has damaged the chances the Jaguars organization could have to hire first rate coaches. I also believe Del Rio has let his attitude cloud his judgment on coaches that he's given the pink slip to.Nelson in Jacksonville: If I could change a tenet of the jaguars, It'd be the over all coaching staff. There are too many head coaches on one team, It won't be as bad this season with Greg Williams gone, but seeing as how last year Jack Del Rio, Mike Shula, and Greg Williams, all of which are head coaches(Greg Williams' goal is trying to be a head coach), so no true decisions are the whim of Jack Del Rio, he has so many other people to look to before he's able to make an executive decision. I only wish he could do whatever he want with his team.
Paul Kuharsky: Staff stability is definitely an issue. The idea that Del Rio can't make a decision because of who his assistants are, however, is a misguided one. Who do you think hired those assistants? He did.
There is a perception that he relies on his inner circle, which includes running backs coach Kennedy Pola and assistant head coach/tight ends Mike Tice, disproportionately. If the Jaguars don't look like they're on the upswing this year, Del Rio's job security could fall into question. Because of that I think he will be more hands-on with the defense and with new coordinator Mel Tucker.
Brian in Jacksonville: Jags tenet...tough one Paul. Considering the lack of talent across the board there are many tenets I'd like to see changed but after application we might find the change didn't offer any real improvement. Not be run first? You need receivers. Blitz more? You need a better front 4 and faster LBs, along with DBs you can trust. I love that Jack gambles on 4th down. I guess I'd like to see Garrard get the TE more involved. I know Lewis had his drops last year but in watching the games (I attended all home games and 1 away), ML is open a vast majority of the time and David simply isn't getting him the ball. If you take a TE in the first round you'd better make him more integral. I would imagine, however, that faster receivers who run better routes would open the field some. Still, the opportunity is there.
Paul Kuharsky: I too have struggled to understand why they haven't found ways to use Marcedes Lewis more consistently and more effectively.
Charles in Jax: With regards to your Jags magic wand question: I wish the Jags could change the size of their stadium. Jags fans and the team get a bad rap for not supporting the team and having its share of blackouts (none in 2008 though), but people tend to forget its the league's smallest market in population terms (giving GB Milwaukee) yet it has one of the largest stadiums. It was built this way to accomodate the annual FL/GA game, Gator Bowl, and the one time Super Bowl, but its way too big for the market. Shrink it by 10,000 seats and you'd have year-round sellouts and perhaps a waiting list.
Paul Kuharsky: I wrote about this in my early days on this job.
Jacksonville did a good job supporting the Jaguars in 2008 despite a disappointing season. Anyone who gives the
team and city grief for having to cover some seats to downsize probably isn't aware that Jacksonville Municipal Stadium still seats 5,664 more than Soldier Field.
Have marketing, sales and support always been what you'd hope? No. But should we really expect an expansion team in a small city to average better crowds than a team with the history and population of Chicago?
Good morning AFC Southies.
Here are morning headlines for your enjoyment.
I'll be at LP Field in a couple hours for Browns-Titans, where I will do my best to keep my eye on the Colts, Texans and Jaguars as well. You'll get semi-Rapid Reactions on those three games, and as much as I can give you from Nashville...
- David Barron contemplates whether there can be gun control in sports.
- Fullback Vonta Leach has dreams of the Pro Bowl, according to Meghan Manfull.
- Dwight Freeney and Robert Mathis are a top-notch, one-two punch, says Mike Chappell.
- The Colts' five-year streak of division titles could officially end today, writes Chappell.
- More on Mathis from Tom James.
- Apologies for being late on this one: The Jaguars want the city to spend $148 million on renovations to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, according to David Hunt.
- Michael C. Wright takes some questions.
- Buffalo's acquisition of Marcus Stroud from Buffalo ranks as one of Jason Cole's top 10 trades.
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky
Our morning waltz around the division...
- The Texans are looking to rebound from a devastating loss and they'll do it behind Matt Schaub, write John McClain.
- Jerome Solomon compares the Texans to the one team that started 0-4 and went to the playoffs.
- McClain talks to Houston native Dennis Quaid about pro football in his hometown.
- The Colts are looking for their dramatic turnaround in Houston to spark a change of direction for the season, writes Mike Chappell.
- Tony Dungy doesn't seem worried about injuries to Dwight Freeney or Anthony Gonzalez, says the AP.
- The Jaguars are struggling to establish their identity, writes Vito Stellino.
- Three women were injured when a glass panel fell at Jacksonville Municipal Stadium Sunday, Stellino said.
- Fan reaction to the Jaguars' current state, from the Florida Times-Union.
- Is Jack Del Rio's sticking with the plan amounting to stubbornness, asks Cole Pepper.
- Gene Frenette wonders where the Jaguars' fearsome defense is.
- "In the past 10 years, a total of 21 teams started 5-0, including this year's Titans. All but one ended up making the playoffs and four went on to win the Super Bowl, most recently the 2006 Colts, writes Jim Wyatt.
- As expected the Titans re-signed Chris Simms and Jeff Fisher called him important to the Titans' future, writes Gary Estwick. It sounded like Fisher meant future beyond this season.
- If the Titans had lost in Baltimore, Keith Bulluck's shove of Cortland Finnegan and their little in-house battle would have been a much bigger deal, says Wyatt.
- Brodie Croyle is on track to start at QB for the Chiefs when the Titans next play.