Let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Chris and I am an Entertainment Business Bachelors graduate of Full Sail University. I have lived in Jacksonville for the past 21 years and have been a Jaguars fan since day 1 when we were incepted in '93. Alright, enough about me.
This article is going to take a Business approach to the "State of the Franchise". It is called a 'SWOT Analysis' which is Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities & Threats. These are a necessity in the small business world and also in the entrepreneurial business world as well, as they provide multiple avenues of information. These avenues consists of target market, competition, local area demographics, local area demographical trends and many more.
Let's begin with the strengths. The city of Jacksonville is what a LOT of people in the sports industry like to call a "college town". They say this because of its location being within driving distance of a handful of great universities, ie FSU, UF, UGA, the U, just to name a few. This brings forward an amazing strength for the city itself, sports fans. Football fans are unique, as is the sport. Football fans only have 1 game a week, sometimes 2 if there's a Thursday night game, to prepare for. Unlike sports like baseball/basketball/hockey, that makes life a little easier to schedule. Football fans can easily make means necessary to go and see their games, assuming they have the funds available to do so. Jacksonville, being the "college town", has Sundays wide open, making schedules that much easier for people to adjust to. The next strength is the growth of the city. Jacksonville and its surrounding areas have been on a growing trend for at least the past decade. According to USA.com Jacksonville's population growth, 2000-2010, was nearly 12%. Granted, this rate is lower than the near 18% for the state of Florida, but it is higher than the national average of only 9%. Population will never be a problem for the Jaguars, in fact, it's in my opinion their biggest strength.
Oh the fun part… weaknesses! I'll say it immediately, Jacksonville's economy sucks. Jacksonville is a small business town with a whole slew of small business towns around it, ie Orange Park, Macclenny, Lake City, St. Augustine… I could go on for a while. The biggest corporate income the city has would be the ports. The ports do bring in a great amount of income for the city, but it's pretty much the lone source of large corporate business, aside from a few others including CSX/Winn-Dixie. I'm not saying that this an end-all for the franchise because of a slightly stale economic market, but it's not the brightest spot in Jacksonville for a professional sports team. USA.com reports that the median family income in Jacksonville is $54,182. This is over $6,000 lower than the US average. I'm using the family income because I personally believe there are more families that attend Jaguars games than there are individuals living on their own. $54,182 is going to look like roughly $29-31 after taxes and such which leaves not much per month if you have a family of 4 or more. Monthly grocery bills any more can easily be $150-200/week which translates already to roughly a fourth of that income. Now let's include travel expenses, 12k miles a year at 20mpg at $3.40/gallon takes out another $2,040 from that… and that's assuming it's a one car family, that number is easily doubled and tripled for families with multiple cars. Oh yea, we have 2 kids that go to school, so let's take another $1000 for supplies and clothes. Let's also figure in a house payment of $800-1200/mo and utilities around $300/mo. So, we look at this in the end and there's not much room to pay for extra-curricular activities unless we put it on credit, or we possibly sacrifice other areas to make this happen, ie retirements, 401k, IRA… But that's where a lot of Jaguars fans are smart (Middleburg/Westside/Macclenny not included, love you guys!) and typically ride together and tailgate at games. Obviously this is something many teams do but there's always plenty of Jaguars fans riding together to save that extra $25-50/game for parking. Needless to say, the only real weakness the Jaguars have is an economic market that does not push for a professional team of any type, but interestingly enough, we still survive.
Opportunities!! Our now sophomore owner, Mr. Khan, has grabbed opportunity by the throat and is making the best of each and every one. I will not compare Khan to Weaver as they both are vastly different in their business views. I do believe Weaver had the right means as a businessman in getting Jacksonville an NFL team but I also believe that Khan is better at improving what is already there. Again, neither are better or worse, just that they're different in their business focus. Jacksonville has many opportunities. One of their opportunities is their biggest strength, sports fans. Having a multitude of sports fans ready and available makes selling tickets and merchandise a lot easier. Khan has an opportunistic state of mind when it comes to his business ventures. He sees the opportunity, studies it, learns its own strengths and weaknesses, and then capitalizes on it. This is the type of ownership the Jaguars franchise currently needs to help build up to everything it can and will be.
Threats. Threats are not fun to write about in an analysis… Typically they're viewed as an attack on that individual, business or entity. Currently there are a few threats against the Jaguars organization. The whole "Jags would do better in X city/country" is the biggest threat against the franchise. As a business, the Jaguars don't want to hear that. It's a sign of people having no faith in the organization and people wanting to see it go away and get out of their hair. Sadly, this mentality has been here for a while, and rightfully so. We covered up seats, we had black-outs, we have fans giving up tickets because "their player" wasn't drafted, and we also have lawyers trying to use levy donating to a charity if we pick up a certain player… It's normal for individual fans to do things such as that, but not a law office. It's distasteful and not a good business practice, but then again he's a lawyer, 'nuff said. Our economic weakness is also a threat to the organization. You can go back and read the weaknesses paragraph to understand where I'm coming from here.
Welp, for my first write-up on the organization and on BCC I hope you enjoy the read and I do hope for some good input from the readers.