<
>

Jaguars adding more than 3,000 seats for playoff game by removing tarps

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Jacksonville Jaguars have freed up more than 3,000 additional playoff tickets after the NFL agreed to let the team remove tarps that covered four sections of seats.

The Jaguars sold out the 64,431 tickets for next weekend's playoff game at EverBank Field in less than an hour Wednesday afternoon. The additional 3,501 tickets will bring the capacity to 67,932.

This will be the Jaguars' first home playoff game since hosting the AFC championship game on Jan. 23, 2000. The stadium's capacity was much bigger then -- 75,206 were in the stands when Tennessee beat Jacksonville 33-14.

EverBank Field's official capacity has been 64,431 after a slew of changes to the stadium, 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 when that area was renovated before the 2016 season.

The Jaguars covered four sections of the stadium with tarps and sold sponsorships on them. Navy Mutual and the Florida Department of Transportation's Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow campaign purchased those sponsorships for the 2017 season, and the team also received their approval to remove the tarps for the playoff game.

NFL rules do not allow teams to increase -- or decrease -- their stadium's capacity during the regular season.

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 college 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 to 2004 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 they had three games blacked out in 2007 and seven games blacked out in 2009.

The Jaguars didn't have a game blacked out from 2010 to 2014, and the NFL suspended the television blackout rule after the 2014 season.

The new renovations, which are part of a $90 million improvement plan financed half by the city and half by team owner Shad Khan, reduced the number of seats. The team's average attendance of 61,405 ranks 27th in 2017, but the team sold out its last two home games.