The Jaguars and the City of Jacksonville held a conference within the bowels of Everbank Field to unveil a plan for stadium improvements. While we were teased with the video board announcement several months ago, the news conference gave concrete details as to the extent of the renovations and how they will be financed. While we are giddy at the thought of having the largest scoreboards in the league and also having SWIMMING POOLS, POOLS IN WHICH ONE SWIMS, in the stadium, it is important to step back and look at what this means for the franchise and the city.
Before this announcement, we have heard from national media that this city is in danger of losing this franchise. The specter of Los Angeles had been replaced by the specter of London and soon may well be replaced by the specter of relocating to Shanghai or Riyadh. For too long have purported league experts both implicitly insinuate and explicitly declare that the Jaguars would move. With hubris, these so-called experts have dug their heels in and stubbornly declare that the Jaguars will move to London. Now, with what we have learned yesterday, that move seems as unlikely as ever and their calls for relocation ring hollow.
The reason why we write this today is that the current regime heading the Jaguars has shown that these improvements are not just about the Jaguars, but they are also about Jacksonville. So many franchises across the country have an almost adversarial franchise with their respective city governments when it came to new stadiums or renovations. City Hall almost started a tiff between the Jaguars regarding the lease agreement for the stadium, but this week's events have shown that that is long gone. By standing with Mayor Alvin Brown, the leadership of the franchise not only solidified its standing in Jacksonville, but also its standing with Jacksonville.
The Jaguars are not just a team that are located in Jacksonville, they are a part of Jacksonville. We are all a part of Generation Jaguar and have experienced the highs and lows of fandom as a city. What we often fail to realize is that the city in which a franchise is located and the franchise itself are linked together closely. As much as people try to say otherwise, the Jaguars are one of the first things that people outside of Jacksonville associate with when asked about this city. The Jaguars and Jacksonville are inexorably linked. What this new deal with the city has reinforced is the notion that this is not a mere tenancy with the Jaguars serving as the tenant and the city serving as lessor, but a working relationship between the two.
The $63M spent on improvements are not just a categorical spending measure just for the benefit of the Jaguars, but an investment to benefit Jacksonville as a whole. By improving one of Jacksonville's largest assets, the City of Jacksonville and the Jaguars have invested in the future by creating a stadium that can compete for marquee events. With the new amenities added onto the stadium, Jacksonville can now compete for more soccer events, hopefully such as a meaningful US Soccer event, a stronger Gator Bowl match-up, and possibly another Super Bowl or the College Football Championship Game. This was a measure that had to be taken by the team or the city for the future. By joining together, the two entities have made a statement as to their intent.
It should be clear, crystal clear that the Jacksonville Jaguars are not moving in the near future. What the events of the past few months have shown is that the Jaguars are making an investment in Jacksonville and that this city is truly the home of the Jaguars. This is a new era for the Jaguars and Jacksonville. Anyone who says that the Jaguars are making these improvements for mere window dressing should be called a buffoon.
As fans of an embattled franchise, we are all tired. First it was HIM and now it is relocation. We are surrounded by doubters and have them amongst us also. While it seems that we may never be free from the noise that surrounds us, we ourselves know the truth. We know that the Jaguars are here to stay in Jacksonville for the foreseeable future.