What if UNF had a football program...

Where will we play?

What does it cost to start a team?


Using numbers from our neighbors to estimate costs, here are the biggest hurdles - building a new stadium would cost roughly $55-60 million (UCF), a state-of-the art workout facility would be another $15 million (USF), and other miscellaneous incidentals (buses, equipment, etc) for another $5 million.

 

We’re looking at roughly $80 million to start a football program.  75% of that $80 million is tied up in the stadium.  If we could get over the hump of the stadium, it stands to reason that we’d be close…EXTREMELY close to affording a team.

 

How do we get rid of that cost? There's no suspense here. The Ospreys should become a tenant of EverBank Field with the Jaguars. This is a relative no-brainer. Use of the Jags' stadium is the perfect solution to the issue of cost...and a bit more.

 

EverBank has an excellent seating capacity - The stadium seats 67,164 around and can expand out to 84,000, which would put the Ospreys on par with all of the big-time FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision - formerly Division 1A) programs - and would be a valuable tool for recruiting.

 

The Bigger Picture (the "a bit more" part)


Even if UNF had $65 million (more than enough) lying around and earmarked for the new "Osprey Stadium," building a new stadium is the wrong move. Consider the state of the Jaguars now; There is even more mounting uncertainty surrounding whether the team will stay or go. More than last year, and more than the year before. Weaver has said that at some point in the future the Jaguars will be sold. That doesn’t necessarily mean the team will leave Jacksonville, but at some point he’s going to cash out. The new suitor may want to leave, but we'll have to cross that bridge when we come to it.

 

Whether or not the team will leave, no one knows, but anything we can do that may make the franchise look more appealing, or that braces for its loss, is in the city’s best interest. The Ospreys moving into EverBank does both.

 

If the Jaguars were to leave, what would happen to the jobs associated with the stadium? Weekly concessions would no longer be necessary. A grounds crew wouldn't be necessary, either. Point being, bracing for a loss is taking a step towards preserving jobs.

 

 

Let's talk money

 

I was fortunate enough to get in contact with an Athletic Director from Temple University (they share Lincoln Financial Field with the Philadelphia Eagles) that provided me with information and insight illustrating what we should expect to pay/make from use of our NFL stadium.

How these numbers fair compared to the other NCAA teams that occupy NFL stadiums, I don't know, but I wouldn't be surprised if they're a bit favorable for Temple. The Eagles are the seventh highest valued team in the league. Their operating income (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) is almost twice that of the Jaguars.

 

In short, the Eagles aren't in the same financial shape as the Jaguars, so, although, $70,000 may be sufficient for them, it might not be large enough of a tenant fee for the Jags.

 

Here is how the pie is divided:

Revenue

  • 100% ticket sales
  • 10% concessions
  • 100% “Guaranteed Money”

 

Costs

  • $70,000 Lease/Sole Tenant fee (per game)
  • 90% of concessions
  • 100% of parking

 

Projected revenue amounts

  • Ticket Sales - $800,000 (20k attendance  @ $40 per ticket) per game
  • Concessions - Negligible
  • "Visitor" of other stadiums $600,000 ($600,000 - $750,000 per game)

 

There are generally 6 or 7 home games during a 12 game season, but we'll go with 6 for our first year. I didn't bother trying to guestimate concessions revenue as there are too many unknowns (i.e. I didn't feel like researching this part - not for a mere 10% cut).

 

For 6 home games our ticket sales for the year would total $4.6 million. 6 away games potentially would total $3.6 million in guaranteed money. Even with a fairly conservative estimate for ticket sales, that still is quite a chunk of change per game for a start-up program. Of course, with season tickets and “required donations” factored in, this amount would go up considerably. $8.2 million should be enough to pay a top-notch staff and still retain a little for the kiddy.

 

Did I go too conservative on the attendance amount? Maybe. The NCAA requirement for home game attendance for FBS schools is 15,000 average per home game. I feel confident that 5,000 more than that figure can easily be achieved.

 

Everything that is listed as a “cost” to UNF would be revenue for the Jaguars. The City of Jacksonville, as the landlord of the stadium, is entitled to their piece of the pie, but, with the City’s desire to keep the team in place, I couldn’t see them keeping any more than they’d have to. Peyton passed on the $4 million cut of the EverBank naming rights deal, to benefit the team, I’m sure letting more found money go won’t cause him any loss of sleep.
If the Jaguars did indeed leave Jacksonville, then their share of the proceeds would simply revert back to the City.

 

What should the Jaguars do with the money?


This is found money for the Jaguars which could/should be used to purchase tickets as a way to avoid blackouts. If the Jags can’t just outright purchase the needed tickets, then I’ve got an idea, a better one, actually:


“Go to the Ospreys game (save your ticket) and get into the Jags game for $5!”


They should use the money to buy down the cost of the tickets for those who attended the Ospreys’ game. This would increase attendance and get people going to the Jags game who probably wouldn’t have gone normally, thus building a fan base for the future.


 



So, what do you think?

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