Since the franchise was founded in 1993, the Jacksonville Jaguars have had a rather inconsistent record. There have been some definite bright spots in the team’s history, but the last six years have been a time of rebuilding, rebranding and renewing.
I’ve always maintained that it’s hard being a sports team in Florida. So many of the state’s residents are transplants from somewhere else, bringing their own team loyalties and allegiances. It’s tough to win over converts.
When we moved to the area, we decided that we would both root for the home team, in addition to our first NFL loves (the Dolphins and that green team which shall not be named). We love football and going to game, and we are glad to support the local community. In the seven years that we have lived here, we have watched the team grow and change, but have always been thrilled to call ourselves fans.
In 2013, Shahid Khan purchased the Jacksonville Jaguars, and a new era began. Despite circulating rumors that he would sell or move the team, Khan has been a very visible and passionate owner, doing his best to allay those fears, while helping to grow the franchise and the entire Jaguars experience. He has been accessible to fans, vocal about his plans for improvement and, in my humble opinion, has made positive strides in developing the football community in Northeast Florida.
On Saturday night, we were invited to an amazing event at Everbank Field, to celebrate the newest changes to the venue. Not only would we see a soccer match between DC United and Khan’s own Fulham FC and a live performance by Carrie Underwood, but we would witness the unveiling of the world’s largest video boards. Measuring at 362 feet wide, these boards are part of a $63million renovation package, which also included new swimming pools and cabanas on the viewing deck at one end of the field.
It was pretty exciting.
I really wasn’t particularly interested in the match, but it was fun being out at such a great event, being among the first to see the massive new boards.
Right before eight o’clock, a stage was erected in the middle of the field, and some of the Jaguars administration and local politicians begin making their speeches.
And then, beneath the glow of the setting sun, we counted down.
The montage that played was beautiful, highlighting all the things that are special and wonderful about Jacksonville. The screens were brilliant, vivid and crystal clear. I don’t think the unveiling could be considered anything but a triumph.
I can’t wait for football season to start.
Not long after, the concert began. Carrie Underwood was lovely. Even in a huge, open-air venue, her voice carried beautifully, and for those that were too far to see her clearly, one had only to look up to the screens for a clear view.
We ended up leaving a little early (we were exhausted and needed to be back at the practice field for training camp early the next morning), but it was a phenomenal show.
Do you support your local teams?
What do you think of the new swimming pools at Everbank Field?
Lisa RunFastMama says
Those look amazing! I’m honestly not into sports really at all and either is hubby. That is not to say we don’t take in a game here or there and of course, always root for the home team 🙂
Lisa RunFastMama recently posted…What a FUN weekend!
They were so gorgeous. You could probably see them from space LOL!
John (Daddy Runs a Lot) says
I grew up right outside of NYC, so I’m sad to say that I support my childhood teams (the fact that I live in central PA and only have minor or independent league sport teams as “local” factors into this, as well — my near-NYC upbringing means that I can barely pay attention to college sports).
But that sounds like a GREAT time!
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LOL! I’ve held on to the Yankees and the Devils. Mr PugRunner loves the Yankees, Knicks, Islanders and Jets. We were extremely lucky to get to see Derek Jeter at spring training in Tampa last year. It was a nice piece of home for us.
I had no clue there were swimming pools there. I wanted to go last year to a Jags game because they were playing the Chiefs (my hometown is KC). I may try to go this season or next although I enjoy college sports more than professional.
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There are! It’s the coolest thing! The pools and cabanas are all sold out for this year, but it would be awesome to experience a game from the water at some point. I would love to go to the Dolphins game this year. Fingers crossed. I think college games are more fun, but we have to travel all the way to Sunrise to see the Hurricanes dominate, so it’s a little less doable.
I actually hate sports but you make it sound like so much fun! Maybe I should reconsider. There’s good food right? The sky is so pretty in your pictures and it looks like a great night!
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Awesome food! And cocktails! I didn’t have a ton of time to wander around, but they have a huge variety of concessions. There were a few different restaurants that had installments, and there were bars serving frozen cocktails and mason jar cocktails. The whole tailgate/football culture is a huge thing for me. I love getting to games when the parking lot opens, grilling out, playing ball, and then going in to watch the game. While what happens on the field is important, the social aspect is fun, too. I used to have season tickets to the Dolphins and it was such a great way to spend the season. I miss that a lot.
Anne @ CandyCrazedrun.com says
Ok, I love, love, love how much your support the Jags, I have definitely picked up on that following you!
My Dad and brother are huge fans, and gosh darn it, I truly hope everything Khan is doing pays off because we need it, and I really admire him.
What a cool event, my brother was there as well haha!
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Your brother and I seem to be on the same wavelength. First, Crocodile Crossing, then this!
As a former sports marketing guru, I really appreciate what Khan is doing. While his focus is on the team, he’s trying to create a pretty irresistible entertainment destination for the casual and radical fans alike. I hope we see the fruits of his efforts. The city is really going to benefit on many levels.
Abby @ BackAtSquareZero says
I am a Colts fan, so no Jags for me:)
LOL! The Colts will be here! The Jags are actually doing a “Stache Dash” and part of the entry fee is a ticket to the Jags-Colts game. You should come on down!