The Jags Are Here to Stay…

Posted: December 2, 2011 in Jacksonville Jaguars
Tags: , , , ,

Calm down Jaguars fans. Your team isn’t going anywhere.

Yes, I was initially alarmed when Wayne Weaver announced the team had been sold and there was nothing in writing that new owner Shahid Khan would keep the franchise in Jacksonville. Weaver said he had Khan’s word and that was good enough for him. I certainly want to trust Weaver’s judgment.

Truth is, there are several things that make moving the Jaguars unlikely. First and foremost, moving any NFL franchise is a complicated matter. Second, as a current minority owner of the Jaguars told me, there are contractual stipulations that would make moving the team expensive. Mainly it involves the lease agreement between the city and the Jaguars that runs through 2029. There’s a hefty price, $100 million, for breaking the lease and I don’t care how rich you are $100 mill is still a bunch of dough.

But the main reason the Jaguars aren’t going anywhere has nothing to do with Weaver or Khan.

Jacksonville certainly isn’t the only franchise that has trouble selling tickets and/or getting major corporate sponsors. That list includes San Diego, Phoenix, Tampa, Buffalo, Minnesota, Oakland, St. Louis and Cincinnati. Indianapolis and New Orleans were struggling before they put winners on the field. Carolina has more than its share of empty seats.

Think about it: Is the NFL going to leave a growing Sunbelt city and stay in a shrinking city like Buffalo?

Yes, anything can happen. The struggling economy makes the next paycheck unpredictable. But the success of the NFL is partly because its owners always have looked at the long term picture, not the short term picture. Looking long term is why Jacksonville was given a franchise back in 1993.

There’s no question the NFL wants a team in Los Angeles. The league is looking to go international with teams in Mexico, Canada and Europe. Changes are inevitable, but it’s a long shot the Jaguars are going anywhere.

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