The Jacksonville Jaguars held a "State of the Franchise" press conference on Tuesday that went along with their new logo change and everything else. Later in the week, Jaguars president Mark Lamping stopped by on XL Primetime with Joe C. and Ryan "Hacker" Green on 1010XL to talk a bit more about the press conference and answer some questions the hosts had about what was revealed.
You can listen to the full interview here, but for those who cannot I've transcribed the entire interview below.
Lamping on the reaction to the new Jaguars logo:
It's been great. It's been really good. You know, obviously when you introduce something new you're never going to have something unanimous in terms of of acceptance, but it's been really positive and I think that people understand this really symbolic of a new direction with this franchise and based on the results the past two years I think it's a change in direction our fans embrace.
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Lamping on how the Jaguars went through the process of "Stand United" and the logo change:
We started this process trying to think of what are those things about Jacksonville that make us different. What are those that make us unique, what are those that make us special and the military is such a very important part of this community and we're thrilled that we were able to weave into our identity a very strong salute and recognition of the military and what it means to this community.
Lamping on Jaguars fans saying the game day experience on Sunday's was "fun again":
That's great to hear. We worked very hard on that and it's just the start. The NFL in some respects can be it's own worst enemy. You have all of the games that are produced in very high quality, high definition. It's a situation now where large format flat screen TVs have become within reach of almost everyone in the community and it's pretty simple to sit at home and watch a game on TV when there's a great picture and you want to keep up with your fantasy football and be able to follow what's happening elsewhere throughout the National Football League, so we really need to make sure the experience with fans come to EverBank Field when they spend their very hard earned money to purchase a ticket, that they have an experience that is unique and different than what ou can have staying at home or going to your local watering hole to enjoy the game with your fans. That was a real priority for us and it will continue to be so in the future because it's that important.
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Lamping on fans worrying about the team moving:
I've been fortunate enough to have been hear just about a year, and we love it here (Jacksonville). This is a very special place. It's a place that probably not enough people know what a wonderful place this is to live, to work, and to raise a family. If people think that there's anything going on behind the scenes, they've totally ignored what's happened since Shad (Khan) bought the team. Everything that we're doing, and we tried to spend a lot of time on that subject, trying to explain it a little bit on Tuesday. Everything we're doing is to make us stronger here in Jacksonville. That's what our focus is, that's what our commitment is, but more importantly all of our actions have supported that. One of the best ways to do that is to be open and transparent with the community and that's what we tried to do on Tuesday.
Lamping on the excitement this year compared to last:
I hope so. This community and our fans in particular, could not have performed better last year. If the team had performed as well as our fans performed, we would have been playing in New Orleans last weekend. Our fans have absolutely nothing to look back on last year, they've done everything that they need to do and everything that they can. What we need to do is continue to focus on the things off the field that are important to our fans, but absolutely most importantly number one is to put a better team on the field for our fans to be able to cheer on and support and feel good about that support. Nothing happens overnight. We took a huge step backwards last year, I don't think anyone was expecting the record we had last year and now's the time to turn the page. We're building back from a very bad year and it's a new approach, it's new leadership and we're very optimistic because, if nothing else the energy level is higher than it was 12 months ago.
Lamping on what he pulls from the most:
It's a few things. One, this is a very strong football market. If somebody is monitoring your radio station 24 hours a day, particularly when you're producing locally originated programming, you're gonna that virtually everyday you're talking football. You're talking a lot of college football, you're talking even more NFL football, so the passion exists in this community. We have very, very knowledgable football fans. We have a community that is one of the most special places to live in this country, when you consider our location, when you consider our climate, when you consider the natural resources we have here, all the infrastructure, the educational, the medical support we have in this community, the very favorable taxing environment. This is a wonderful place to live and my wife and I pinch ourselves every morning that we have the opportunity to live here. We have the size of a community where we don't have the clutter, for example you have up in New York. We have a lot of great sports fans here, and there's a lot of different interests that these fans have, but there's only one major professional sports team that calls Jacksonville their home. So, all of that combined I think that says this community has everything that it needs, we just need to do a better job and hopefully we're on the path to do that.
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Lamping on the proposed scoreboard:
It goes back to what I said a few moments ago, fans today demand much more than just fans 10, 15, or 20 years ago. Just look at the percentage our fans that are active in fantasy football, the depth of the fans commitment to the NFL extends to not only their favorite home team, but also other teams throughout the league. Particularly in this community, where we have a lot of transplants that have other teams that they also like to follow. Statistical analysis, replays, and now that the NFL has allowed for the replays of what the referees are actually looking at, and those are things our fans want to see. The way that those things are communicated is through the scoreboards. If we can do that, if we can give fans the information that they desire, we know that they'll have a better experience when they come here. If they have a better experience to come here, and if we do our job in terms of putting a team on the field that they can be proud to support, we know they're going to come in even bigger numbers. That's at the root of what the scoreboard situation is all about and we laid something out there for once, we can't we here in Jacksonville have something that's number one in the National Football League and not be satisfied with "Hey look, we as good as the average NFL team." One of the quickest ways to do something like that, one of the most impactful ways to do something like that is through the video boards and the size of the video boards. I talked a little bit about Cowboys Stadium, when you think about Cowboys Stadium and that's a fantastic facility, but what a lot of people talk about that facility are the video boards. I know this, having been around the construction of billion dollar stadiums, while the Cowboys spent a lof of money on their video boards it was really a small percentage of the investment that they made. We think this is the fastest, quickest, most efficient investment we can make to really change the dynamic when people think about EverBank Field.
Lamping on what a fan expects:
Well, we don't take any fan, whether they buy tickets or not, for granted. We did a lot of talking on Tuesday, and we did that so a lot of fans could understand where we are, because this community is so invested in the Jaguars they should have a chance to have a look behind the curtain in terms of how our business is structured and how it works. We will only go as far as our fans allow us to go. I wouldn't be here if it wasn't for Jaguars fans buying tickets, our players wouldn't get paid if it wasn't for Jaguars fans for just buying tickets or just following the team, or buy a t-shirt. This is a business that has to be focused each and every day on not only recognizing the importance of our fans, but making sure our fans recognize how important they are and we're very appreciative of their business, but we need to keep focusing on understanding what they want and doing everything we can to deliver that or else we're going to fall behind, and we can't afford to do that.
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Lamping on local revenue concerns:
First, it's our problem to fix. You can't ignore where we are. While I didn't get into it with the other team's rankings because that's confidential information, I can tell you in the National Football League as it's evolved, it is so much harder to win if you're at the bottom of the rankings in terms of teams with revenue. It does influence they way in which you can operate your business, where you can make investments and we have to be growing. We debated a little bit whether we should share that with our fans or not, but at the end of the day we should. Our fans should know where this team stands. And again, it's our responsibility to fix that. It's not the fans responsibility. If we do our job, we know the fans will come, but if we simply ignore the realities of what people were thinking originally... I was sitting in St. Louis when Jacksonville was awarding this NFL expansion franchise and I was wondering "How did it end up in Jacksonville?". Everyone in St. Louis thought we were going to get the team. People need to understand what our challenges are, we clearly understand it's our responsibility to fix it. I hope if nothing else, it happens so frequently in this community this is one of 32 NFL cities and everyone should feel very proud of that. In some respects we should stop looking over our shoulders about somebody who's threatening us, because that's people outside the market that are making us uncomfortable. It's not people inside the marketplace. It's certainly not the Jaguars, it's certainly not anything that Shad Khan has done. I think we have a little bit of paranoia here and I guess it's understandable, but the sooner we set that aside the better it's going to be for all of us.
Lamping on fans supporting the team:
One thing I would share with everyone; It is not your civic responsibilities to support the Jaguars. If you live in Jacksonville it is not your civic responsibility to support the team. If you believe that we're providing you with something of value that you're prepared to invest your hard earned money in, then support the Jaguars. I can make a great argument that having the Jaguars here is really good for this community, but people should not be guilted into supporting this franchise any more than people should be guilted into listening to your radio station or going to a particular restaurant in this market. We have a lot of work to do, I think we're making progress. I know we made a tremendous amount of progress off the field last year and now we need to make sure we can continue that and at the same time put a really good team on the field. If we do that I think everything else will take care of itself, but we have to keep our eye on the things we need to deal with and if we don't do that as an organization we're doing a disservice to this community.