It is well documented that Everbank Stadium has seats covered in tarps, and that the Jaguars have had trouble selling out the stadium since the team's inception--and that leads many in the national media (even if incorrectly) to assume that the Jaguars are a prime candidate for relocation.
While it might be true that the sponsorship and population may not be there, it is extremely inaccurate to equate that to an uncommitted fanbase, and here's why:
The Jaguars were 26 out of 32 teams in weekly attendance. That is not anything admirable on the surface, but it certainly clears them of accusations of not filling the stadium--actually, some perennially strong fanbases have comparable numbers (the Jaguars in mediocrity only had an attendance of 1,700 people less per week than the Pittsburgh Steelers).
But here's what's even more intriguing: By metro population, the Jaguars hold their own against any team in the league. Comparing the metro population (the amount of people in the area of a city), versus the attendance in the stadium per week, a much more favorable picture can be painted of the city of Jacksonville.
I realize that the statistics will be skewed towards smaller markets, simply because it would be impossible to fit everyone in the city into a stadium, therefore even if say New York, was able to fill their stadium, their comparative index would be misleadingly small. For this reason, I will exclude any stadium that had an average attendance of over 95%
The remaining teams are: Washington, Kansas City, Buffalo, Cleveland, San Diego, Jacksonville, Oakland, Miami, St. Louis, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati.
The approximate metropolitan populations of these cities are as follows:
Washington-- 5.4 million
Kansas City-- 2.0 million
Buffalo-- 1.1 million
Cleveland-- 2.1 million
San Diego-- 3.0 million
Jacksonville-- 1.3 million
Oakland-- 4.3 million
Miami-- 5.4 million
St. Louis-- 2.8 million
Tampa Bay-- 2.7 million
Cincinnati-- 2.2 million
Now, the 2010 average attendance for the same cities are as follows:
Kansas City-- 71,960
San Diego-- 65,567
St. Louis-- 56,455
Tampa Bay-- 54,973
So, putting the pieces of information together, I'll suggest an index--a numerical number percentage of how many people attend games, verses how many people are able to attend the games. Like I wrote before, I have excluded the cities with a higher percentage of attendance, because more people could not fit into the stadium. However, of the cities with ample room for more people, these are the index scores, they represent the percentage of the metro population that actually attends the games.
Kansas City-- 3.59
San Diego-- 2.19
St. Louis-- 2.02
Tampa Bay-- 2.04
These numbers in no way do away with revenue concerns, although the new CBA is small-market friendly.
The problem is, however, that so many in the media suggest that Jacksonville is not supporting the Jaguars. As is shown by these numbers, Jacksonville supports it's team significantly more than any of the other cities not selling out their stadiums. Shoddy reporting and rumors have given Jacksonville a black eye and that simply is not fair.
As per the index provided, considering the population involved, Jacksonville is twice as supportive as the populations of Cincinatti, Tampa Bay, St. Louis, San Diego and Washington. It is three to four times more supportive than Miami and Oakland--and still significantly more supportive than Kansas City.
Is this a guarantee that the Jaguars won't move? Hardly. Does it dismiss the problems selling tickets? Not at all. But don't tell me that Jacksonville doesn't support the Jaguars. The evidence simply does not support such a claim.