Jags to get new look after postseason success

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The Jacksonville Jaguars will have a new look on and off the field this season.

The team announced Monday that it is removing tarps that cover four sections of EverBank Field to meet an increased demand for tickets in the wake of the team’s surprising run to the AFC Championship game.

In addition, the team confirmed that it will have new uniforms, which will be unveiled sometime in the spring. That means the team is finally ditching its black and gold two-tone helmets.

The average season-ticket price will increase by an average of 10.9 percent, the team said, though the specific increase varies based on seat location. This is the first time in 10 seasons that a majority of the seats will have a cost increase, the team said.

However, the team also said it is lowering concession prices on certain items. Fans can purchase hot dogs, popcorn, bottled soda, and various other items for $5 each.

“Getting rid of the tarps has been our goal since Shad Khan purchased the team in 2012,” Jaguars president Mark Lamping said. “Our fans created a real home-field advantage for our final 2017 regular season games and home playoff appearance. We want to make sure that same home-field advantage is a reality every time the Jaguars take the field this fall by giving fans access to even more affordable tickets.”

The Jaguars received permission to remove the four tarps for their playoff game against Buffalo, which was the team’s first home playoff game since Jan. 23, 2000. Those tarps cover 3,501 seats and the team said those seats will be sold for $45 per game.

Tarps have long been a part of the Jaguars’ history. When the stadium was renovated in 1993-94 in preparation for the Jaguars’ inaugural season in 1995, the capacity was 76,766 with room to add temporary seating to accommodate 82,000. The stadium needed to be that big because of the annual Florida-Georgia football game.

The Jaguars advanced to the AFC Championship game in their second season and again in 1999 and attendance wasn’t a problem until the team started losing. The Jaguars had half of their 32 home games blacked out on local television from 2001-04 and installed 11 tarps that covered nearly 10,000 seats in the upper decks of the stadium. The Jaguars did not have any blackouts in 2005 or 2006, but had three games blacked out in 2007 and seven games blacked out in 2009 (none in 2008).

The Jaguars didn’t have a game blacked out from 2010-14 and the NFL suspended the television blackout rule after the 2014 season.

Additional renovations to EverBank Field over the past several seasons — including the installation of the world’s largest video boards, pools, the installation of premium seating throughout the stadium, and the removal of approximately 2,400 club seats — decreased the official capacity to 64,431. With the removal of the tarps the number is now 67,932.

Season ticket sales have been significantly higher than this time a year ago. The team said they’ve taken more than 5,000 deposits from fans purchasing new season tickets. That number was roughly 700 at this time last year, the team said.

It was not a secret that the team was going to be ditching its current uniforms. NFL rules mandate that teams must wait five years to make any uniform changes. The main issue with the Jaguars’ current uniform is the two-tone helmet, which Paul Lukas of Uni Watch called the worst in the league.

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