As the main presenter on Tuesday, Jaguars President Mark Lamping reviewed what the team calls the “sustainability” of the franchise, outlining different ideas to create revenue and not raise ticket prices across the board.
Owner Shad Khan admitted they have big ideas in their organization. From the now-reality of the big scoreboards, to the potential of the team being the developer of the Shipyards property with a Jaguars theme in the sports complex, a concept of a roof over the stadium, a change to the club seats to enhance the experience and even their own version of “courtside” seats, the Jaguars owner wants his team to compete on the scoreboard and on the balance sheet.
“I can tell you if there’s one difference in the last two years, it’s that there’s no sense of entitlement,” Khan told me as his eyes flashed at the idea of complacency. “None of our former players will ever say again that they enjoyed their vacation in Florida,” referring to Aaron Ross’ comment when he went back to the Giants. (Ross was mediocre at best while he was in Jacksonville anyway despite signing a big free agent contract)
Khan wants a competitive organization in football and in his business and believes that’s what makes you successful. As one of the wealthiest people in America (and pretty high up on the worldwide list as well) the Jaguars owner wants all of his businesses to have that mindset.
He told a local group recently that his biggest fear was “having too much money and too much time.” So if somebody at his level is still getting after it, he expects his organizations to be doing the same.
Lamping laid out the economic realities of having the smallest fan base in the NFL and also having among the lowest ticket prices. It’s a business model that’s not sustainable. So they are looking for new ways to create revenue.
“It seems to me they’re competing,” Head Coach Gus Bradley said after the presentation. “Just like the culture that we’re building on the team, they’re doing the same on the business side. They want to compete.”
Lamping agreed. “We’re competing. You can feel the buzz in the organization. We just need to give the fans what they deserve, a winning team. Shad’s confident Gus and Dave (GM Caldwell) have us in the right spot right now.”
Jaguars revenue is up 8 percent over last year, buoyed by their London foray. Otherwise they would have been fairly flat in 2013. Not bad after a two-win season, but they say the current uptick in the season ticket sales and the increased sponsorship dollars are the leading indicators of a competitive, sustainable franchise.
They’ve always said that Jaguars fans are the best in the league; they’re just not enough of them. So building a competitive organization means changing the culture on and off the field.
“When you come in you absolutely feel the drive and the hunger,” Khan told me afterwards in the back of the room. “Whether on the field or on the business side, you can feel it. And you have to have that in order to be a successful organization.“