EverBank puts name on Jags' stadium

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jaguars got a much-needed financial boost Tuesday, striking a five-year deal with EverBank that includes changing the name of Jacksonville Municipal Stadium to EverBank Field.

Jacksonville City Council president Jack Webb said the deal would be worth $3 million in its first year and escalate to $3.5 million in its fifth year. The team will keep all the money.

The Jaguars had been seeking about $5 million per year for naming rights.

A previous agreement between the team and city said the city would keep 25 percent of the revenue from the sponsorship deal, but Webb said Jacksonville is giving that up while continuing to be responsible for stadium upkeep. The agreement must be approved the council.

"I clearly think this is a game changer," Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver said. "This shows their confidence that the Jacksonville market is a viable NFL market."

The Jaguars have struggled with attendance and the team has made a huge offseason effort to sell tickets and avoid TV blackouts this season.

"We've been painted with a broad brush by the national media, that this city can't support this team and that's not true," Weaver said. "This dispels that notion."

The deal includes Jacksonville-based EverBank's designation as the official bank of the Jaguars along with a variety of promotions and other media rights. It also includes provisions for the bank to entertain customers in other cities where the Jaguars play.

EverBank chairman and CEO Rob Clements said the deal will help his company, which has more than $11 billion in assets, to market its name throughout the country.

"It allows us to build our brand awareness," Clements said. "This is part of the evolution of our company."

Weaver said the agreement is not longer than five years because of the current economic environment. After three years, the bank will have a nine-month negotiating period to renew.

Clement said the company didn't use the word stadium in the renaming because EverBank Field has a more contemporary sound.

"We like it, it's cool," he said.

Jacksonville hasn't had stadium naming rights since a $6.2-million, 10-year agreement with Alltel ended in 2007. That deal was one of the least expensive in the NFL and considered a bargain for the telecommunications company.