With it increasingly looking like the Jacksonville Jaguars will vacate TIAA Bank Field for the 2026 and 2027 NFL seasons while renovations proceed, the team still needs to settle on a temporary home.
The NFL team was faced with the choice of a two-year shutdown if the Jacksonville Jaguars play elsewhere, or four years if construction shuts down during the NFL season. It sounds like the team is leaning toward a total two-year shutdown, moving play to an area stadium.
But finding that temporary home will be a challenge, as available facilities have pluses and minuses. Team officials have spoken about targeting Orlando as an expansion of the team’s current fan base, which means looking at either Camping World Stadium or UCF’s FBC Mortgage Stadium. Both facilities could be undergoing renovations either within the stadium or the general area. Orlando is a two-hour drive from Jacksonville, but the notion of fans driving that distance isn’t unusual in the NFL: Just ask all those partial season ticket holders driving from Milwaukee to Green Bay.
Also discussed: Ben Hill Griffin Stadium on the University of Florida campus — another facility that might be undergoing renovations in coming years.
A dark horse, but certainly an interesting one that might be worth a one-shot event: Daytona International Speedway, with a turf installed in the track’s infield. Another dark horse, which means placing a bet on a smaller venue that doesn’t yet exist, would be a new stadium planned by the JAX USL investors. That stadium likely will realistically be at around 10,000-12,500 capacity–small for an NFL venue–even though the JAX USL folks are talking about 20,000 capacity.
Here’s one informed prediction, from JAX Today:
First, expect there to be at least two “home” games played in London. The Jaguars will play one “home” and one road game in the UK this season. It will serve as a test run for how to handle a similar trip in the future.
Second, the Jaguars’ brass will have to decide if they wish to play the rest of their home games in the same stadium. There are reasons beyond football to keep the alternate stadium constant for an entire season. Sponsorship activation and signage, broadcasting infrastructure, parking logistics, and a host of other categories would benefit from playing home games in just one domestic venue for the entire season.
(We referred to TIAA Bank Field in the lede, but that name will go away on September 10, 2023, when the EverBank Stadium moniker returns.)
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