by Joe Wilhelm Jr.
The Jacksonville Jaguars have a fraction of the time the organization had last year to sell enough tickets to lift television blackouts for the season.
However, team representatives said they are confident they can reach the goal, with a little help from some supporters.
As of Monday, the Jaguars were 17,000 short of the nearly 51,000 ticket sales required by the NFL to lift the television blackouts for the season.
Season tickets start at $330, or $33 per game, according to the www.jaguars.com site.
Jaguars Senior Vice President of Sales and Marketing Macky Weaver explained that it will be necessary to sell 400 season tickets per day to meet that goal.
“I believe we can reach our goal. It’s going to be difficult, but doable. We proved last year that we can do it,” said Weaver.
“We are doing everything we can to make it as easy as possible for fans to become season ticket holders,” he said.
Tickets can be purchased online, by telephone or at the ticket office at EverBank Field. The Jaguars have extended hours at the EverBank Field ticket office behind the Jaguar statue on the west side of the stadium.
It will be open from 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on Saturdays.
Thursday will be a busy day not only for the players, who will participate in their first night practice of training camp, but also for fans and Jaguars front office staff.
The Thursday night practice is open to the public and it will begin at 5 p.m. at the Florida Blue Health & Wellness Practice Fields. It will also be the official kickoff of the “It’s GO time” marketing campaign with a “Back to Football Night” featuring autographs from the coaches and players, The Roar, Jaxson de Ville and musical performances from the D-Line and a live band.
On the same night, at the West Touchdown Club, the Jacksonville Regional Chamber of Commerce will host a rally in support of the Jacksonville Jaguars. All of its Chamber Council members, Beaches Division members and IMPACTjax members have been invited to attend the mixer hosted by Team Teal to kick off a grass roots campaign to sell tickets and raise funds for community initiatives.
Ray Driver, who chairs the chamber’s Sustain the Jaguars committee, admits the ticket drive looks daunting, but the grassroots efforts will work to develop the passion fans had last season.
“Once we get beyond the talk of the settlement, and the stories are about football, the general excitement will pick back up,” said Driver. “We are going to have a lot of Team Teal events leading up to the start of the season.”
Driver also is a member of the Team Teal executive committee. Its commissioner, retired Jaguar Tony Boselli, also understands the job ahead of Team Teal.
“It’s going to be a big push. The good news is that the deal is done and football is back, and the people need to support this team again.
I was reading a story today about the new stadium in L.A. and there were two teams mentioned as possibly going to L.A. and the Jaguars weren’t initially mentioned, but they were a possibility if we go back to having games blacked out,” said Boselli.
Moving forward with efforts to fill EverBank Field during the 2011 season, the Jaguars will host the first “Select-Your-Seat” event of the new season from 4-9 p.m. Friday at the stadium. Available seats will be marked and fans can “test drive” them.
The program will expand to “Select-Your-Seat Saturdays” throughout August from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Free parking is available in lots M and J.
Fans that have already purchased season tickets have begun to receive their Teal Deals coupon books that include about $3,000 in savings at area businesses.
The promotion was originally scheduled to end July 1, but because of the lockout, the benefit has been extended until Aug. 19 or as long as supplies last.
“We saw a small uptick in sales when rumors began to surface about the lockout coming to an end,” said Weaver.
“I think a bunch of fans were waiting until the ink was on the paper before committing to season tickets,” he said.
“We made a statement last year. We don’t want to go back to the talk of whether or not Jacksonville is an NFL town,” said Weaver.
“If we continue that momentum we can show the importance of this team to this city.”