Mayor pledges $43 million to stadium improvements

Jacksonville City Council asked to commit 'bed tax' revenue to project

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Could the largest scoreboards of any stadium in the world and other improvements at EverBank Field be the answer to filling up seats for games?

Mayor Alvin Brown believes in the project enough he is willing to commit $43 million of tax revenue to the project.

Brown and Jacksonville Jaguars President Mark Lamping announced a tentative agreement on a plan to fiance the project.

Brown says the money will come from existing revenue -- the 2 percent of the "bed tax" hotel guests pay that is committed to the sports complex -- and will have no effect on the city's budget.

The Jaguars are committing $20 million in addition to the city's $43 million.

Enhancements include the following:

  • New scoreboards in each zone, dimensions making them the largest of their kind in the world
  • A new scoreboard control room
  • A new platform in the north end zone featuring "water features" and where food and drinks will be sold

Brown hopes these improvements will do more than just give the Jaguars a winning environment, but also allow EverBank to host more events.

"Part of it, upgrading our facilities and making sure that we're competitive in the marketplace and not just for the Jaguars, for the Gator Bowl, the Florida-Georgia game for everything we want to do at EverBank Field, and we made that commitment," Brown said.

Lamping is looking forward to the upgrades.

"It's just one more step to have a very solid financial franchise here in Jacksonville," Lamping said. "We're talked about the things we need to address. We need to make sure the game-day experience is as good as it possibly can be. We need to grow our local revenue. We need to make sure the fans feel comfortable when they come to the sports complex."

If the funding plan is approved by City Council, construction will begin in January 2014 and finish by mid-July 2014 -- in time for the next football season.