There is another meaning behind the Jacksonville Jaguars’ decision to remove the tarps in the stands of EverBank Field besides the demand for tickets this coming season. As team owner Shad Khan explained, it gives his organization an advantage on their home turf.
“Strangely enough I think it’s the most important thing [for the organization] because the look it gives us is not a good look for the city,” Khan said during an interview with Jacksonville media on Tuesday at the NFL’s annual meeting. “It’s not a good look for the Jags.”
It has been 13 years that this team has dealt with covering seats because of a lack of fan interest. Since the day Shad Khan bought the team from Wayne Weaver in 2011, he has stressed the importance of fan support and the community coming to games to support the home team.
Now, with the Jaguars a serious playoff and possible Super Bowl contender, there is more demand for seating. The Jaguars sold their stadium out in mere minutes when playoff tickets became available, which forced Khan and the franchise to remove the traps, which meant more seats were available. Those tickets were sold in mere minutes.
“The Jaguars received permission from the NFL and sponsors to remove the four tarps that covered 3,501 seats for their Jan. 7 playoff game against Buffalo, their first home playoff game since Jan. 23, 2000,” writes Michael DiRocco of ESPN.com. “The team announced on Feb. 12 it would remove the four tarps to meet an increased demand for tickets in the wake of the team’s surprising run to the AFC Championship Game.”
EverBank Field, which will soon become TIAA Bank Field, seats 67.932 fans. According to DiRocco, the team is ahead of last year’s pace for season and single game tickets. The home schedule this coming year will feature the Pittsburgh Steelers and New England Patriots. It will also feature the Philadelphia Eagles, but that game will be played in London.
“Khan said he’s hoping the increased interest and additional seats available will give the Jaguars a consistent home-field advantage,” Di Rocco wrote. “The team certainly has developed one for their annual game in London at Wembley Stadium. They’ve played there the past five seasons and will do so for at least three more years.”