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Jaguars President Mark Lamping

EverBank Field Wi-Fi to cost $4M, city to chip in up to $1.25M

By David Chapman, Staff Writer

An NFL mandate for its teams to have minimum Wi-Fi standards by the end of the upcoming season will mean another upgrade for EverBank Field.

The estimated price tag: $4 million.

That’s according to a change in the agreement between the city and Jacksonville Jaguars that City Council could vote on Tuesday. The yet-to-be-filed bill has the team paying $1.8 million, the city covering no more than $1.25 million and the rest coming from $1 million in savings from the current EverBank Field upgrades.

The renovations underway include the giant video boards, upgrades to the North End Zone and more for a cost of $63 million. The city is paying $43 million of the improvements from bed-tax funds, while Jaguars owner Shad Khan is providing the remaining $20 million.

Where the city’s $1 million-plus portion for the Wi-Fi will come from has not been finalized, but there was discussion about borrowing it from the banking fund during committees this week. The bill allows authorization of such borrowing.

The goal is introduction and passage of the bill Tuesday, team lobbyist Paul Harden told committees during a brief presentation.

Timing is key, he told members of the Recreation and Community Development Committee, because the upcoming full meeting is the last of the council year before it breaks in early July and returns days before the stadium upgrades are scheduled to be complete.

The renovations are scheduled to be showcased at the soccer match between Fulham Football Club, which Khan owns, and D.C. United and a Carrie Underwood concert, both of which are July 26.

The Wi-Fi standards were set by the NFL last fall. Harden said Jaguars President Mark Lamping undertook a bid process and received four proposals, with the selected vendor being “substantially less expensive.” The vendor, Extreme Network Inc., installed a similar upgrade to Gillette Stadium, which is home field to the New England Patriots.

The project comes with a three-year maintenance agreement included in the contract, but fees after that period aren’t specifically addressed, Harden told the committee.

Although the EverBank Field improvements and payment structure were finalized last year, the Wi-Fi upgrade wasn’t part of the scope of that project and meant an amendment had to be introduced, city assistant general counsel John Sawyer said in an email.

dchapman@baileypub.com

@writerchapman

(904) 356-2466

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