The Jacksonville Jaguars, who have compiled an 11-37 record over the past three years and last fielded a winning team in 2007, have downsized EverBank Arena. Sort of. The Jags sacrificed just under 10,000 seats to build a series of cabanas on what the company described as a two-tier “party deck,” complete with a pair of pools. Because, you know, why watch the football game?
“We wanted to take areas in our stadium that were underperforming and get creative,” Jaguars exec Chad Johnson (no, not that Chad Johnson) told ESPN’s Darren Rovell. “It’s no secret that we’ve had tarps on seats, so we wanted to turn that around and build premium areas.” This represents a rare moment of honesty from an, ahem, less-than-successful NFL franchise, especially in a sport that essentially exists with its own money factory.
Even for a team that’s as unluckily averse to winning as Jacksonville, the franchise was still worth $840 million in 2013, according to Forbes. The Jags actually pulled in double and triple the revenue per fan than their immediate contemporaries in Oakland and St. Louis, respectively, but when your stadium is so empty on a game-to-game basis that your owner makes Electronic Arts pull the plug on realtime crowds in Madden, there probably need to be some changes. Hence, cabanas.