The Jacksonville Jaguars have been and remain to be the butt of attendance jokes, despite the fact that their issues seem to be in the rear view mirror. One of the big reasons for still being the butt of these jokes is the glaring black eye that exists on EverBank Field, in the form of tarps covering up nearly 10,000 seats to bring the stadium size closer to what the market can bear. The tarps however are something that Jaguars owner Shad Khan would like to remove.
"To me, every day I look at the tarps, it is like underachieving, and I can't wait to be able to do that [remove the tarps]," Khan told reporters earlier in the year.
"Putting tarps over seats does nothing for the fan experience and is a blatant reminder that there are seats under them," Jaguars president Mark Lamping told The Florida Times-Union.
The problem is, they're not easy to get rid of.
If the Jaguars didn't have to worry about things such as the annual Florida-Georgia game and the Gator Bowl. These one-off events sell the seats, generally, and removing the permanent fixture seats just can't be done. Lamping did mention there could be temporary structures in place of the tarps, but they would need to be something easily removable once the season was over.
Lamping said they've discussed the idea of building platforms that could be used for everything from concession stands to standing room to palm trees to improve the atmosphere. The platforms would have to be designed so they could be taken down for the Florida-Georgia game and then put back up. But there are problems. The platforms can't block the view of seats that aren't covered. And the plan has to be cost-effective. So far, it is turning out to be more expensive than the Jaguars anticipated.
One suggestion I've seen quite a bit is to remove the tarps and give away the tickets or make the tickets insanely cheap. The problem with that idea however is you're devaluing a product and that simply doesn't work. Not to mention you're going to catch the ire of fans in the seats in sections adjacent to the "cheap" seats, given the seats are relatively the same.
It's a situation that's not going to be resolved cheaply, as the Jaguars are finding out. Hopefully however, the team can figure it out and get rid of the black eye.