Shad Khan’s reimagined Jaguars organization and team is finally achieving its realization this season, and with it comes a plethora of various improvements to EverBank Field. Many of these enhancements to the stadium and its features are already well-known, but some may come as a surprise to Jaguars fans. As you probably know by now, the city issued $57.5 million worth of building permits last summer to prepare for the new video boards at EverBank Field. Approximately $37.5 million came from the city’s hotel bed taxes, while the other $20 million came from Khan himself.
“We have to have a very compelling reason for fans to come to the game,” said Khan. “The most important thing is to make sure they have a good game-day experience. Teams like us are looking for every competitive advantage.”
With the addition of these new attractions to the stadium, such as the video boards, which are now the largest of their kind in the world, Khan and the Jaguars are hoping to improve the fan experience at the game, and ultimately draw more support for the team.
One of these new structures will turn fantasy into reality, with the addition of a 7,000-square-foot fantasy football lounge. This new air-conditioned lounge will replace the Sky Patio and house a unique NFL stadium experience. With plans to accommodate roughly 300 fans, the new fantasy lounge will feature 20 HDTVs, Wi-Fi, couches, an excellent view of the field, a bar, gaming consoles and access to tablets … with a constant stream of NFL RedZone. While some may think this is an odd feature to bring to EverBank, Jaguars Senior Vice President/Fan Experience, Hussain Naqi, said the decision to construct such a lounge came from the desire to bring some of the features of watching a game at home to the stadium.
“One of the things we hear from our fans is the fact that they want to be able to check their fantasy scores, to be able to see RedZone, to be able to be at a place where they can cool off,” said Naqi. “They want to be able to go to a place where they have amenities so they can come and take a break from all of the hustle and bustle of going to a game. This will allow us to provide that amenity to fans irrespective of whether they’re a premium customer or not.”
This means anyone with a ticket to the game will have access to this new amenity, which is great for the many “out-of-town” fans who live here in Jacksonville, according to Jaguars President Mark Lamping.
“We know this would be welcomed by the large portion of our fans who are transplants to Jacksonville, as well as all fantasy football enthusiasts,” said Lamping.
Perhaps the most renowned improvements to the stadium are the new pool and cabana facilities, located on the north end zone of EverBank Field. These seating areas, numbering 20 altogether, are replacing hundreds of seats, many that had been infamously covered by tarps in previous years. These cabanas are split into eight, 50-person units with 12, 20-person sections, each complete with a seated lounge area, ceiling fans and multiple HDTVs. They are being marketed to season ticket holders and single-game attendees as group spaces for business events, gatherings or other group occasions.
Not all cabanas are created equally however. There are two different cabana areas available to fans. The larger “Spa Cabanas” have access to the stadium’s new swimming pools and the smaller “Terrace Cabanas” are simply overlooking their larger, more expensive, counterparts. The Spa Cabanas are currently going for $12,500, which averages out to $250 a person. With the price covering game tickets, food, drinks (yes, beer and wine … no, not liquor) and a dip in the pool, the price isn’t too shabby. The Terrace Cabanas are going for $3,000 a game, which comes out to $150 a person with the all-you-can-eat-and-drink package included.
Aside from the new cabana areas, EverBank will now feature 38 tables between the 30-yard lines on each side of the stadium. These tables, called 4Topps, will seat four people comfortably, and will go for $13,500 as a season ticket package. In addition to the isolated seating, these tickets will include the unlimited food and drink package, similar to the cabana areas. If you’re a frequent EverBank visitor and are interested in these new special seats, you should get them now, as only small numbers of each remain. If the previous seating arrangements sell out, however, there are still even more options available to fans at EverBank this season.
On the away side, a new area has also been added to the northeast and southeast corners of the field. This area is now considered “field-level” seating, and includes 180 new seats for fans looking to get closer to the action.
“The new Jaguars Field Seats offer an all-inclusive experience like never before. Enjoy the thrill of Jags football as close as possible. Any closer, you would be in the huddle!” according to the Jaguars’ website. The field level seats cost $375 a game for season ticket holders. Once again, these new seats will come with the food and drink coverage via preloaded tickets that can be scanned at concession stands on club levels.
Chad Johnson, Jaguars senior vice president of sales, said the reason for these improvements was due to the previous seating in those areas performing so poorly in terms of sales. “For us, it gives our stadium some character. We’re at a place in Florida where water plays an important part and these additions help the stadium take on a new personality,” Johnson said. “What we’ve built here you can’t get anywhere else.”
Fans shouldn’t be “Khanfused” as to why the Jags are bothering to upgrade EverBank Field. The profits from these innovative seating areas, which are largely sold out already, will likely encourage more attendance, especially with the benefits of drawing in the out-of-town fans who will have access to watching other games inside the stadium.
The Jaguars also plan to use the stadium to host more events outside of football as well, with plans to bring in other sports events, massive concerts (think Country Music Superfest), and undoubtedly more soccer games, with recent U.S. Men’s National Soccer games drawing nearly 50,000 people. It’s also worth noting that Khan not only owns the Jaguars, but also Fulham Football Club of the Barclays Premier League, and the team will have already played a match at EverBank against DC United by the time this issue of Void goes to print. That being said, it’s safe to expect there will be many more soccer games in the future for EverBank.