Jags show plans for indoor practice facility, amphitheater

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shad Khan is interested in bringing the NFL draft to the city.

The team on Friday unveiled artist renderings of the indoor practice facility and 5,000-seat amphitheater that are scheduled to break ground in 2016 adjacent to EverBank Field, and Khan said that while it wouldn't be enough to pursue a Super Bowl, it would make the stadium an attractive place to host the draft.

"What it takes to get a Super Bowl, I think, is setting Jacksonville up for failure," Khan said. "I think the time, money, energy is much better served doing something else. ... I'd like to see Florida get Super Bowls, but I think Tampa and [Miami] are much better suited for that. The requirements now for hotel rooms and some of the other infrastructure amenities we don't have here, so let's not kid ourselves.

"But I think we can have other NFL events here that we'd be well-suited for. Draft would be something aspirational for us and this amphitheater."

The NFL draft was held in Chicago in 2015. It had been held in New York since 1965, but the success of the event last year at Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University led the NFL to have it in Chicago again this year.

The league is interested in moving the draft to different cities across the country.

The open-air amphitheater, which is part of a $90 million improvement project at and around EverBank Field (it also includes an indoor practice facility and club seat renovations), will have 5,500 fixed seats with additional room for temporary seating. It will be located just outside the south end zone under a roof that also covers the indoor practice facility.

Khan is splitting half of the project's cost with the city.

Jaguars president Mark Lamping said there isn't a projected completion date for the amphitheater and indoor practice facility, but the hope is it will be finished by the end of 2016. That could allow the Jaguars to pitch the idea of the 2017 draft coming to Jacksonville.

"There's no reason why we shouldn't be after the draft," Lamping said. "There's no facility right now that would work. [The amphitheater] could work. If they keep on pushing the draft back, weather won't be an issue.

"Shad doesn't settle. If you listen to what he said, and I play close attention to it because I know what our marching orders will be, he just doesn't want to have an NFL franchise that just survives in Jacksonville. He wants a franchise that's well-respected throughout the league, a franchise that fights well above its weight that the community can be proud of. I'm not suggesting we're there now; we're not, but that's our aspirations."