Jags looking ahead to future projects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- EverBank Field is currently undergoing $63 million in improvements that includes two of the largest video boards in the world, but Jacksonville Jaguars officials are already thinking about future projects.

During the annual state of the franchise news conference on Tuesday, Jaguars president Mark Lamping said the Jaguars are examining the possibility of adding a fabric roof to the stadium and renovating the club levels on both sides of the stadium as well as becoming involved in the development of the nearby Jacksonville Shipyards.

Lamping stressed these are preliminary discussions within the organization and they have not talked cost or feasibility with any city officials.

"Our focus really isn’t even at this point on how they’re going to be financed," Lamping said. "It’s what do we need to do to try to stabilize the franchise, and if we can get consensus that that’s what needs to happen, then you figure out how you pay for it."

Adding a roof to EverBank Field is a longer-term project. Renovating the club levels is a shorter-term project that could cost in the $15-$20 million range, Lamping said. EverBank Field has 11,200 club seats -- the fifth-highest total in the NFL, according to Lamping -- and the renovation would reduce that number. Sales of club seats have leveled off at 75-80 percent, so reducing the number available would create a higher demand and a higher percentage sold.

Lamping said the Jaguars want to be involved in any shipyards development. That could mean holding occasional practices or scrimmages at a covered or outdoor facility or having other events at the site.

"We think it makes a lot of sense for us to integrate the Jaguars into that [any shipyards development]," Lamping said. "And one of the great ways to integrate that into it and have people be interested in going over there is have the team over there, perhaps maybe doing practices occasionally. Even during Florida-Georgia, maybe one of the two teams would be there. The idea of a covered facility that may end up being multipurpose, may not be exclusively for the NFL team, and an outdoor field that would allow for football-themed activity, we think that would draw a lot of people to the shipyards."

Jaguars owner Shad Khan said those three ideas are just a portion of the brainstorming about the franchise’s sustainability in one of the NFL’s smallest markets.

"We don’t want to be delusional but I think we’re doing better than we were a couple of years ago but there’s a lot of work to be done," Khan said. "And we’ve got to understand where the opportunities are and where the challenges are.

"I think you want to come up with a lot of ideas and then you’ve got to be able to focus on a few that you can turn into reality. And those have to be good for the franchise. They have to be good for the community."

The current EverBank Field improvements -- which include the video boards and an interactive area with a pool -- are on schedule to be completed by the middle of July. The video boards will be unveiled at a July 26 mega-event featuring a friendly between Fulham Football Club and D.C. United and a concert by Carrie Underwood. Jaguars season-ticket holders are admitted free.