JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jacksonville Jaguars and city officials announced Wednesday an agreement to fund giant new scoreboards and other improvements to EverBank Field to be ready before the 2014 football season.
Based on information released when the scoreboards were first proposed, the new video displays in each end zone would measure 55 feet high and 301 feet wide.
"That's right, the biggest and best scoreboards in the world will be at EverBank Field here in Jacksonville, Fla.," Jaguars President Mark Lamping said at a late afternoon news conference.
The improvements will also include a fan area in the north end zone that will require removal of 7,000 seats. There will also be two new sideline boards, displays over each tunnel and a new scoreboard control room.
Exact details of the funding were not released Wednesday, but the Jaguars said it would kick in $20 million, adding that 100 percent of any cost overruns would be paid by the team.
Jaguars owner Shad Khan publicly thanked the city for "sharing our vision and making this happen."
"Today we're making a statement to the NFL, to the nation and to the world that Jacksonville is world class," Khan said, adding it will help the city attract major college football, international soccer and other major sports and entertainment events.
"When you see these plans come to life next fall, it will be impossible to stay home to watch the Jaguars," Khan said.
Rick Catlett, president of the Gator Bowl Association, said the stadium improvements will also help the city keep the Florida-George game contract and potentially attract a college football national championship game to Jacksonville.
"This is an investment in Jacksonville's future as a leading destination for major events, not just regionally, but globally," Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown said.
The city of Jacksonville spent millions in 2005 to upgrade the current video scoreboards to a high-definition display. The city's portion of the funding is subject to City Council approval.
Catlett said the focus should not be on what this project will cost, but on the tens of millions of dollars the city would lose if it lost some of the national, high-profile events currently held in Jacksonville.
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