Ever since Shad Khan bought the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012, he has made it a point to routinely ask the city and state for as much public money as possible.
- In 2013, the city of Jacksonville paid $43 million of the $63 million needed for scoreboard upgrades. With interest, the city will have paid out $96 million for this project.
- In 2014, the city paid $1.4 million to upgrade the Wi-Fi at the Jags stadium.
- In 2015, the Jags received from the state to $45 million for stadium upgrades.
- In 2016, the Jags asked for and received some amount of public funding from the state.
- In 2018, the city took out a loan to pay $12.5 million for the removal of a bridge on land that the Jaguars wanted to build on in future years.
- In 2019, the Jags began putting out signs that they wanted $500 million for a big stadium renovation. Maybe a new stadium?
- In 2020, the Jags wanted to renovate a part of their stadium and therefore asked the city to fund $233 million out of the $450 million dollar price.
- In 2021, the Jags asked the city to give them over at least $60 million for a practice facility that they were building.
Keep in mind that yearly the stadium continues to kill the city of Jacksonville’s finances. Several years ago, the stadium cost the city $23 million while bringing in just $4.5 million. That is an embarrassing 80% loss.
Yet, with all of this taxpayer money being given to the team on a almost yearly basis, the city of Jacksonville continues to just roll over whenever Khad screws them.
For example, Jacksonville continues to have home games taken from them by their own owner and the NFL. These games are then played in London, England, so that the NFL and Jaguars ownership can make a few more bucks.
Since 2012, the NFL has continued to pick the Jaguars every year as one of two teams who must lose a home game to play in London. Now it is two. This week, the NFL announced that the Jaguars will be taking two home games away from Jacksonville and handing it to London, England.
Will it stop at two? Doubtful. In 2018, it was reported that Khan was looking at keeping the Jaguars organization in Jacksonville while playing all of their home games in London.
None of this has stopped Khan from changing his tune at all. Khan continues to demand hundreds of millions for future projects and upgrades. Yet at the same time, he keeps removing home games from that same city council. In doing so, he kills any chance of the city having any financial stability in the near future. Game day revenue is one of the very few ways that a city/state can actually make some money from a stadium.
In 2021, Khan almost got the city to substantially fund a new sports district outside the stadium. The problem was that the whole thing was rushed and poorly planned out. The city was giving away expensive downtown land for nothing. Zero project studies were done.
City leaders must have been given detailed information on the project?
“Nobody has provided us anything on what these actual hotels and apartments will cost per square foot, but we are spending a whole heck of a lot of money and we don’t know any backup information to justify what we are spending … I just think it ought to start over. I think it’s time to just pull the plug on it” – Councilman Matt Carlucci via News4Jax, 01/07/21
Last year, a poll found that roughly half of Jacksonville voters opposed spending $375 million on a proposal calling for a new roof on the stadium. Furthermore, 80% of voters opposed splitting the cost of a new stadium with the team. The Jags also did their own poll, with comical results that nobody took seriously.
Is it any wonder people had an issue with the Jags treating city council members like this while all of the above was going on?
“Before the start of the NFL football season, the Jaguars’ local superlobbyist arranged for Jacksonville City Council members to not just attend a game, but to watch it from the luxurious suite of the team’s billionaire owner. Once a date was set, the council members received a black envelope in their mailboxes. Enclosed were two $125 tickets to the game, two passes to the owner’s suite, a premium parking pass and a welcome note with instructions for game day” – Jacksonville.com, 11/21/15
Thank goodness, the city just helped fund the Jaguars new “sports performance” building that will open soon.