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Old 09-22-2009   #1
MannyFresh
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Default Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

NFL has no business being in Jacksonville - Yahoo Sports Dan Wetzel

It was a fine afternoon for football Sunday in Jacksonville and 46,520 fans (actually, probably less) showed up to rattle around the city’s Municipal Stadium for the Jaguars’ home opener. The stadium, which hasn’t had a name-rights deal in two years, can seat over 76,000. The Jags long ago gave up on that number, and in an effort to avoid television blackouts they covered up sections to cut capacity to 66,066.

They still didn’t come close to selling out.

They’ve publicly stated there is no hope for filling the joint for a single game the entire season. They aren’t even blaming the fact they’re coming off a 5-11 campaign.

“Even if we made the playoffs last year, we’d still be in this situation,” Bill Prescott, the team’s CFO, told the Florida Times-Union. He went on to claim that based on playoff appearances in two of the last four years, the postseason is worth only a 5 percent bump in sales.

More From Dan WetzelUnderdog, gritty Patriots are back Sep 15, 2009 Too early to get excited over Favre Sep 13, 2009 ADVERTISEMENT

This is all the economy’s fault, Prescott maintained.

If that’s true, then the NFL’s grand small-market experiment hatched in 1995 is all but over. Jacksonville as a viable professional sports market isn’t going to end well. Eventually everyone will have to admit it.

No one is blaming fans for staying home. Even with discounted tickets and generous package rates, attending a pro sports event is an expensive and time-consuming proposition. You can be the most loyal fan in the world and never go to a game. Jaguar fans shouldn’t apologize for saving money for something more important than football.

Still, a market that can truly support professional sports has enough people who either can afford it or simply won’t live without it. Every town will support a new team or a big winner. The truth comes not in good times but, like now, bad.

Jacksonville is struggling. The unemployment rate is 10.5 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, and like much of Florida foreclosures are high.

Yet by any known economic metric, what Jacksonville calls a disaster would be considered a renaissance in Detroit. The City of Detroit’s unemployment rate is nearly 27 percent; the metro area checks in at 17.7.

While the Jaguars weren’t good last year and dropped to 0-2 with a listless 31-17 loss to Arizona, the Lions are in the middle of a 19-game losing streak and have won just a single playoff game in 51 seasons.

And still Detroit sold out its opener at Ford Field, capacity 65,000.

It’s a numbers game. Metro Detroit has a population of nearly five million; Jacksonville just 1.3 million. Metro Detroit has 17 Fortune 500 companies that can buy luxury suites and bulk tickets. Jacksonville has just two and none in the top 200.

So even though the Jaguars have no other major pro teams to compete against, it struggles. The Lions go against franchises – successful ones – in MLB, the NBA and the NHL, plus, like Jacksonville, two nearby major college programs. Even in a crippling economy, though, there’s enough money to go around.

Jacksonville was a bold gamble that didn’t make sense in the best of times. Green Bay is the only NFL market that’s smaller, but with its history and public ownership, it’s really the team of the entire state of Wisconsin (population 5.3 million).


Florida already had two long-established NFL franchises, though, when the Jaguars were created in 1995. There never seemed to be a big enough base to make this work.

Television blackouts caused by non-capacity stadiums are going to be an issue across the country this year. Only 20 of 32 teams have presently sold out the season. Still, everyone else filled the stands for their home opener.

Jacksonville barely got to 70 percent of its rigged lower “capacity.”

The franchise, the NFL and the city have all poured tremendous resources into making this work. The stadium is fresh, modern and located conveniently downtown. The team has been a success, with six playoff appearances in 14 seasons. In an effort to help boost the league’s appeal in the region, the NFL even staged a Super Bowl there in the face of loud criticism for putting the big game in a small city.

None of it has worked, at least not enough.

The Jaguars have dropped ticket prices, marketed relentlessly and tried to create value at concession stands. The city’s mayor has called on area businesses to help. The players have even made appeals.

And still there were officially 20,000 empty seats, although independent media accounts estimated that number at closer to 30,000.

In a sign of desperation, team owner Wayne Weaver even told the Associated Press that he’d consider drafting University of Florida quarterback Tim Tebow next year to help with ticket sales.

“Star power is incredible, and Tebow is an iconic figure,” Weaver said.

That’s a gimmick that’s rarely worked for pro teams and speaks to a backward way of running a franchise. You draft (and play) Tebow if your football people think he can win games, period.

There was a time in the 1980s and ’90s when the profession of sports marketing was new and hot. It created a false sense a team could offset basic business realities. Anything was deemed possible, everything saleable.

So the NFL set up shop in a small, sleepy city and let Los Angeles go without a team. In hockey, the NHL pulled teams out of Canada and expanded across the Sun Belt, only to now find at least a half-dozen franchises in serious trouble.

It turns out sometimes you can’t market the impossible. Not enough people in the South want to watch a hockey game. Not enough people live in Jacksonville to support a big NFL franchise through thick and thin.

No one wants to see the franchise fail and no one is publicly saying it has or will. Weaver hasn’t expressed plans to sell.

However, while there’s a loyal fan base of Jaguar fans, what’s the attendance going to be by season’s end, especially if the 0-2 team continues to sink?

And how do you increase interest for next year if half the games aren’t on television?

If the only thing that can fill the seats in Jacksonville is a roaring economy and a Super Bowl-contending team, then how long into the inevitable economic downturns will it take before everyone admits the obvious?
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Old 09-22-2009   #2
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

There was some pre-season hype for MJD, and how this was going to be his breakout year now that Fred Taylor was gone. MJD himself said it would be.

I steered waaayyyy clear of MJD in my FFL draft.

Rule one of FFL: Do NOT draft a good player on a bad team. Sure, Calvin Johnson is good. But what's around him, and what's the best that the team could hope to accomplish coming of an 0-16 year?

I stick with guys who are on productive teams. Even Andre Johnson can find 50 or 60 yards on a bad day. With teams like Detroit and Jax, you're asking for headaches when you grab their players.

That Jax team would be selling lots more tickets if they were good. If they were on fire, or if they suddenly rattle off 9-straight wins and look like contenders, then people will return.

Seems like the people of Jacksonville are smart consumers: If they don't like the product, they won't buy it. And this forces the owner to take a long hard look at possibly shaking up his team's coaching staff. I have a feeling that the Jags will do the following: Fire Del Rio by end of season, have the first or second pick in the draft (maybe 3rd or 4th, depending on their finish), and draft the local hero Tim Tebow and pair him up with a head coach who can utilize Tebow's strengths as a running QB.

There would have to be a replacement team to put in the AFC South if the Jags ceased to exist. I bet L.A. will be that team.
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Old 09-22-2009   #3
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Maaaaaan, Calvin Johnson was money last year on an 0-16 team, lol. Kevin Smith wasn't bad either. You can find productive players on bad teams. I'm sure back in the day, Dominic Davis and the young AJ were hot commodities in fantasy football.

And I don't think the Jags would cease to exist. Just be moved to Los Angeles under the same name and still be in our division. Technically, LA is in the South (if you draw a straight line or something). Just flights out that way would be brutal. Though, Houston to Indy and Houston to LA may not be that big of a difference....flight wise.
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Old 09-22-2009   #4
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Calvin Johnson just got a DUI ... I guess 18 losses in a row will do that.
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Old 09-22-2009   #5
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

I don't blame Calvin Johnson for that DUI. He plays for the Detroit Lions.
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Old 09-22-2009   #6
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GP View Post
There was some pre-season hype for MJD, and how this was going to be his breakout year now that Fred Taylor was gone. MJD himself said it would be.

I steered waaayyyy clear of MJD in my FFL draft.

Rule one of FFL: Do NOT draft a good player on a bad team. Sure, Calvin Johnson is good. But what's around him, and what's the best that the team could hope to accomplish coming of an 0-16 year?

I stick with guys who are on productive teams. Even Andre Johnson can find 50 or 60 yards on a bad day. With teams like Detroit and Jax, you're asking for headaches when you grab their players.

That Jax team would be selling lots more tickets if they were good. If they were on fire, or if they suddenly rattle off 9-straight wins and look like contenders, then people will return.

Seems like the people of Jacksonville are smart consumers: If they don't like the product, they won't buy it. And this forces the owner to take a long hard look at possibly shaking up his team's coaching staff. I have a feeling that the Jags will do the following: Fire Del Rio by end of season, have the first or second pick in the draft (maybe 3rd or 4th, depending on their finish), and draft the local hero Tim Tebow and pair him up with a head coach who can utilize Tebow's strengths as a running QB.

There would have to be a replacement team to put in the AFC South if the Jags ceased to exist. I bet L.A. will be that team.
I wonder if the NFL has considered a franchise "shuffle". St. Louis is I think dealing with the Rams possibly taking flight. They're gone in 2011 I bet and when they do St. Louis will have a nice empty stadium sitting there and a market that's clearly big enough to support an NFL team (unlike Jacksonville). The Jags were originally expected to be awarded to St. Louis and it came as a bit of a surprise when Jacksonville won the team.

I think it would be perfect if they finally ended up where they probably should have gone to begin with while the Rams return to the city they never should have left in the first place. I would really enjoy seeing the return of the Los Angelas Rams. It would offset having to get used to the St. Louis Jaguars.
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Old 09-22-2009   #7
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Too bad Bud didn't make that deal and move the Oilers to Jacksonville in the late 80's. Though, if the Titans really start to struggle and tear off a bunch a losing seasons in a row I think you will have the same issue in Nashville since it is a small market also.

I also wonder about the Cowboys. Since Jerrah made such a large stadium with a huge capacity he is going to have a lot of seats to fill. When the Cowboys are losing the fans up there tend to start disappearing. I wonder just how many seats he has to fill before it is considered a sell out? I know they had over 105K at the Giants game. Obviously some of that were those standing room only seats.
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Old 09-22-2009   #8
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Quote:
Originally Posted by GP View Post
There was some pre-season hype for MJD, and how this was going to be his breakout year now that Fred Taylor was gone. MJD himself said it would be.

I steered waaayyyy clear of MJD in my FFL draft.

Rule one of FFL: Do NOT draft a good player on a bad team. Sure, Calvin Johnson is good. But what's around him, and what's the best that the team could hope to accomplish coming of an 0-16 year?

I stick with guys who are on productive teams. Even Andre Johnson can find 50 or 60 yards on a bad day. With teams like Detroit and Jax, you're asking for headaches when you grab their players.

That Jax team would be selling lots more tickets if they were good. If they were on fire, or if they suddenly rattle off 9-straight wins and look like contenders, then people will return.

Seems like the people of Jacksonville are smart consumers: If they don't like the product, they won't buy it. And this forces the owner to take a long hard look at possibly shaking up his team's coaching staff. I have a feeling that the Jags will do the following: Fire Del Rio by end of season, have the first or second pick in the draft (maybe 3rd or 4th, depending on their finish), and draft the local hero Tim Tebow and pair him up with a head coach who can utilize Tebow's strengths as a running QB.

There would have to be a replacement team to put in the AFC South if the Jags ceased to exist. I bet L.A. will be that team.
I dont see how a team in L.A. could be in the AFC South, but hey Indy is here and they are not a southern team. I would love for the NFL to move teams around to make it seem geographically logical
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Old 09-22-2009   #9
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Yes, It's that bad in J'ville!!! I'll support to the bitter end....If the Jags leave Jax, do you guys still wear the battle red uni's?
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Old 09-22-2009   #10
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

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Yes, It's that bad in J'ville!!! I'll support to the bitter end....If the Jags leave Jax, do you guys still wear the battle red uni's?
I know the Texans are going to wear the battle red uni's against the Titans on MNF. They will probably just find a different team to wear them against if jville left town, or if the Jaguars stay in the division they could just keep it against them.
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Old 09-22-2009   #11
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

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Yes, It's that bad in J'ville!!! I'll support to the bitter end....If the Jags leave Jax, do you guys still wear the battle red uni's?

You'll see the battle red unis this week against your team. The Texans wear them twice a year now.
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Old 09-22-2009   #12
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Its kind of sad
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Old 09-22-2009   #13
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

I would love for a team to move back to L.A. Although not sure I'd like the sound of "LA Jags", or even "LA Rams" if they were to move back.

Not sure if any of you guys have seen this, but plans are in place to build a stadium and bring a team back to L.A.

http://www.losangelesfootballstadium.com/

So, I'd say within the next 5 years or so, expect a team to be moving soon.

Quote:
The Stadium would take 2 years to complete and the first season in the Stadium could be 2011.
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Old 09-23-2009   #14
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

I just happen to live an hour outside of Jacksonville, so I have a little knowledge of the situation. First and foremost, I feel sorry for the Jag die-hards. Unfortunatly they make up about 1/3 of the stadium seating.

They support their team, thick and thin. The rest of the town is more focused on Florida Gator football and the left turn club (nascar). While I still have not been able to make it through a nascar race withough falling alseep, I enjoy college football as well as the NFL. Right now, The Gators are putting a better product on the table than the Jags are, but these tides will turn. This is why I feel sorry for the Jag's fanbase. Once this team leave there is a ZERO percent chance that another will come back to this city. This is there one shot and they are letting it slip through their hands.

The team has has reduced it''s stadium seating and prices yet less and less people show up. As far as saying the fans are smart because they should only show up for a quality product, well that will backfire on them once the team packs up the bus and leaves town.

It is nice to know I can catch one Texans game a year without having to buy plane tickets, but if the JAX mindset doesn't change very soon the Jags will be playing their home games in LA, Vegas, Mexico City, or San Antonio. although
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Old 09-23-2009   #15
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

I am trying to figure out why the state of Florida has 3 teams and Texas 2? The geriatrics have a hard time making it out. The parking lot must consist of half handicapped parking. I can say this because I have a placard....damned if I could find parking there. Must be like Cracker Barrel 24/7, no handicap spots left.
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Old 09-23-2009   #16
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

Its obvious that Florida is not big enough to support three NFL teams, plus a very popular college team. If they were to move, which is almost inevitable at this point, I would guess that L.A. and possibly San Antonio would be the most obvious choices. I've been hearing about a NFL team in London...but that has failure written all over it, so I'm hoping its just a rumor.
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Old 09-23-2009   #17
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

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I would love for a team to move back to L.A. Although not sure I'd like the sound of "LA Jags", or even "LA Rams" if they were to move back.

Not sure if any of you guys have seen this, but plans are in place to build a stadium and bring a team back to L.A.

http://www.losangelesfootballstadium.com/

So, I'd say within the next 5 years or so, expect a team to be moving soon.
That's a good looking facilty. I hope that the LA area can get it together as I really would like to see a team back there. I hope the build it and they get a team.
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Old 09-23-2009   #18
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

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I've been hearing about a NFL team in London...but that has failure written all over it, so I'm hoping its just a rumor.
A team in London is not likely to materialize as it would be a scheduling nightmare. Not to mention an overseas flight for each away game for a London team would be absolutely BRUTAL.

I know SA would love to have a team...but I can promise that Jerry and Bob would likely veto any expansion there as it would dilute the fan bases of the teams we have now.

LA is the most logical spot as there aren't enough big cities left available that can support an NFL franchise.
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Old 09-23-2009   #19
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

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Originally Posted by Texaninlild View Post
I am trying to figure out why the state of Florida has 3 teams and Texas 2?
I am trying to figure out why the state of Tennessee has 1 team.
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Old 09-23-2009   #20
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Default Re: Is it that bad in Jacksonville?

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Originally Posted by GP View Post
There was some pre-season hype for MJD, and how this was going to be his breakout year now that Fred Taylor was gone. MJD himself said it would be.

I steered waaayyyy clear of MJD in my FFL draft.

Rule one of FFL: Do NOT draft a good player on a bad team. Sure, Calvin Johnson is good. But what's around him, and what's the best that the team could hope to accomplish coming of an 0-16 year?

I stick with guys who are on productive teams. Even Andre Johnson can find 50 or 60 yards on a bad day. With teams like Detroit and Jax, you're asking for headaches when you grab their players.

That Jax team would be selling lots more tickets if they were good. If they were on fire, or if they suddenly rattle off 9-straight wins and look like contenders, then people will return.

Seems like the people of Jacksonville are smart consumers: If they don't like the product, they won't buy it. And this forces the owner to take a long hard look at possibly shaking up his team's coaching staff. I have a feeling that the Jags will do the following: Fire Del Rio by end of season, have the first or second pick in the draft (maybe 3rd or 4th, depending on their finish), and draft the local hero Tim Tebow and pair him up with a head coach who can utilize Tebow's strengths as a running QB.

There would have to be a replacement team to put in the AFC South if the Jags ceased to exist. I bet L.A. will be that team.
A lot of what you're saying is true, but that is pretty much everyone's theory in fantasy football, and everyone simply isn't going to get the studs on great offenses. At some point in the draft you're going to have to choose guys that aren't in what seems like a great offense, but there are always quite a few players that are the Gems of an awful team.

Like GB mentioned CJ was great last season on an 0-16 team.

Fitzgerald has been great every year and so has Bolden and they've only had one winning season since both of them have been there, but they've still produced.

Certain RB's on poor teams can still put up the points as well.

MJD will be a stud this year at RB for sure. It's inevitable. He gets to many touches in the passing game as well and he's to much of a HR threat.
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