Jacksonville Jaguars are preparing to discuss a large upgrade to their stadium. It might involve a permanent sunroof or... an drones carrying temporary canopy. Yep, that's actually what owner Shahid Khan said.
On Thursday Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan and president Mark Lamping hosted the annual state of the franchise meeting. While the team's lease of TIAA Bank Field is still about a decade long, both officials emphasised the the need for changes at the stadium.
Keep in mind, the building was upgraded for a total of over $150 million between 2013 and 2016, seeing the addition of party cabana decks, significant boost to other premium areas and new massive screens mounted on top. And still it's not considered up to standard by team owners. When compared to other NFL stadia, you get the concern: only two haven't undergone an overhaul of $300 million or more in recent years.
“I think the stadium has to be upgraded; I think that is our approach,” Khan said. While Lamping agreed during his on-stage remarks, he also assured that it's a medium term goal, not an immediate need. Which means talks of upgrade should solidify within 5 years. Indeed, Jaguars are doing great attendance-wise, having reached a decade high last season with average turnout of 66,674 per game.
“From a commercial perspective, we are stronger than we’ve ever been,” Lamping said. “We set records [in 2018] in terms of game ticket revenue.” The south end has a new amphitheatre attached (Daily's Place), which generates additional non-matchday revenue, too.
“If you look at all the upgrades that have happened – clubs, scoreboards, pools, Daily’s Place, we have been a big part of spending money with the city,” Shahid Khan said. “We want to continue to invest with the city to make the stadium better.”
And yet much more is needed. One proposal announced by Khan is delivery of a sunroof. One way to do it is a traditional canopy, perhaps alike the one in Miami's Hard Rock Stadium – an independent structure that doesn't require intervention in the overall stadium structure. But a completely new idea was also put forward by Khan.
“I think there are many, many creative solutions,” Khan said. “There was a very creative solution with drones during a [soccer] game, kind of holding a cover up. It was very futuristic, but it could be very cost-effective only on the days you need it. I don’t know how feasible it is, but as an engineer when I saw that – that was for the World Cup in Qatar – I thought, ‘Boy, that [would] work very well for us.’ We want to look at creative solutions that are very cost-effective.”
The idea surfaced by Khan is already 7 years old and was created at the Qatar University College of Engineering. It includes an 'artificial cloud', which positions itself between the sun and stadium in order to provide an efficient shade without the need to cover all of the stadium.
Lot J development
Also during the meeting, the development of land around the stadium was reaffirmed. In total up to $2.5 billion is expected to be pumped into the Shipyards, Metropolitan Park and Lot J. Team president Mark Lamping said that the first phase of that project, Lot J, carries a $500 million price tag. There are four components to Lot J — a live arena, a hotel, more than 300-unit residential tower and an office complex.
Owner Shad Khan announced that plan last year, but Lamping said that they are ready to get shovels on the ground and prepare to begin the redevelopment.