- Michael DiRocco is an NFL reporter at ESPN. DiRocco covers the Jacksonville Jaguars. He previously covered the University of Florida for over a decade for ESPN.com and Florida Times-Union. DiRocco graduated from Jacksonville University and is a multiple APSE award winner. You can follow DiRocco on Twitter at @ESPNdirocco.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The Jaguars on Wednesday released an early look at a renovation of what they’re calling “the stadium of the future,” a multibillion-dollar project that includes developing the area around TIAA Bank Field and a critical piece of the franchise’s future in Jacksonville.
The base 62,000-seat open-air stadium includes a shaded canopy the team says will reduce the heat factor by more than 70%, a main concourse four times wider than the current one, and lookout decks that offer views of the city. The two pools, added in 2014 as part of a $63 million renovation, remain, as do the large video boards that span the length of each end zone.
The stadium can expand to seat 71,500, and the nearly five-minute video presentation included references to playing host to music festivals, concerts, international soccer matches and tournaments, and potentially the NFL draft. It also included a brief clip of an NCAA Final Four, but no mention of potentially hosting a second Super Bowl.
The team did not mention cost, but FloridaPolitics.com reported this week that the entire cost of the project — including the development of the area around the stadium — could be as much as $2.068 billion, with the stadium improvements costing between $1.2 billion and $1.4 billion.
FloridaPolitics.com also reported — according to documents it obtained that were filed in May with the city — that the city and owner Shad Khan would split the cost of the entire project 50-50 and that the stadium renovation could take as long as four years.
“We have reached the end of this important and initial phase of this project, the design of the stadium we envision will be the home of the Jacksonville Jaguars and serve our entire community for generations to come,” Khan said in a statement. “From stadium discussions starting in 2016 to the formal process launched in July 2020 and now concluding, our objective has always been the same — lock in a promising future for the Jaguars and help our downtown become an economic engine to lift all of Jacksonville, particularly areas that have been underserved. Being able to share the video and stadium design highlights with the people of Jacksonville is a significant step forward in that effort.”
The Jaguars’ current lease at TIAA Bank Field expires after the 2029 season. A new lease would need approval from the NFL and 75% of the league’s owners. Renovating or building a new stadium is expected to be a critical part of getting the approval.
If the city and the Jaguars agree on a two-year stadium renovation plan, the Jaguars would be forced to play their home games elsewhere. Options include the University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium and Orlando’s Camping World Stadium. Other sites mentioned include the nearby 11,000-seat baseball stadium that houses the Triple-A affiliate of the Miami Marlins and a 9,400-seat stadium at the University of North Florida.
The Jaguars play one home game annually in London, and multiple home games in the United Kingdom also could be on the table.
If the team and city agree to a four-year renovation plan, the team could still play its home games at TIAA Bank Field.
The team is hosting 14 events across Jacksonville over the next two weeks to allow residents and fans to learn more about the stadium renovations.
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