The Jaguars annual State of the Franchise took place Thursday morning. Per usual, there was more financial talk than anything else. But there were more than a few essential tidbits to garner from this year's SotF.
Here are my five biggest takeaways.
1. This organization remains fully committed to the city of Jacksonville.
As the Jaguars enter their 25th season as a franchise, the commitment to Jacksonville is as strong as ever. With major plans for the shipyards and Lot J, Shad Khan, Mark Lamping, and company continue to be steadfast in their bond with Jacksonville. To open the event, Shad Khan made it clear that he expects to be here for the long haul: "Twenty-five years from now we're still going to be here."
2. Tom Coughlin wants Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith in the building.
Tom Coughlin spoke briefly about the schedule and the challenges that lie ahead for the team in 2019. He also commented on the voluntary offseason program and the attendance of that program.
"We're very close to 100% attendance," said Coughlin. "And quite frankly, all of our players should be here."
The two players that aren't in Jacksonville with the rest of the team are Jalen Ramsey and Telvin Smith.
Jalen Ramsey plans to train with his dad this offseason, as he has for the previous two summers, before mandatory minicamps and training camp.
As for Telvin Smith's absence, I'm not sure what to make of that. Smith was looked at as a team leader prior to a disappointing 2018 campaign. The well paid outside linebacker has not communicated with the team regarding his tardiness. We will provide further information as it becomes available.
3. Lot J is going to become a major entertainment venue.
The Jaguars provided renderings for what they envision Lot J will become in the near future. It appears that the goal is to have a LIVE! Arena that will feature musical acts, shows, and have bar/restaurant space. There will also be a hotel, residential housing, and an office where Lot J currently sits. If all goes to plan, Lot J will become a hub for downtown entertainment and living.
4. The team needs to improve the seating in the 400 section.
Jaguars fans with smaller budgets have enjoyed some of the cheapest tickets in the league for some time. While the price of the ticket is at a reasonable level for those fans not looking to shell out a ton of cash for home games, the quality of the seat is not. Sure, there's still a beautiful view of the field from the 400 level, but in the first half of the season — especially September — fans are forced to deal with extreme levels of heat that make it difficult to enjoy the game. Team President Mark Lamping made it clear that the organization is aware of the issue, but that they do not yet have a plan in place to fix the problem.
5. A new stadium or significant renovation on the horizon?
The Jaguars, along with the Bills, are the only two teams that have not built a new stadium since OR had renovations in excess of $300 million since 1995. Mark Lamping made it clear that teams in the NFL are highly focused on increasing local revenue and building a new stadium or completing a major renovation is the number one way to do that. The Jaguars have poured quite a bit of money into their stadium and the surrounding area in recent years and will continue to do so. But league-wide statistics show that a major renovation or new stadium could be on the horizon.
BONUS: The Jaguars are taking over the operation of Tax Slayer Gator Bowl for this year. If their plan goes well, the team will gain an extra local revenue income source, while also helping improve the quality of the annual college bowl game.
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