EverBank Field serves as the home to the Jacksonville Jaguars of the AFC South Division. It is built on the site of the former Gator Bowl Stadium. EverBank opened in 1995 and holds 67,248 in its NFL configuration. Since opening, the stadium has gone through two major renovations, adding the MPS Group Terrace Plaza, the Bud Light Party Zone on Sky Patio and two new state-of-the-art scoreboards. It is well-designed, from a viewing perspective, as 75% of the seats are along the sidelines, with only 25% in the end zones. Just outside of the stadium, the team created a Fan Entertainment Zone @ Pepsi Plaza, which offers a three hour pre-game experience, complete with tailgate cabanas, food trucks, interactive games and live entertainment.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
EverBank Field has a vast array of food and beverage options that will please any palate. Rather than generic concession stands, the stadium features outlets of many of Jacksonville's favorite restaurants. Among your choices are Bono's BBQ, Stadium Classics, the Gridiron Grill, Bubba Burger, Vinny's Pizza and Seabest Seafood. The beer selection is equally broad, as it features Blue Moon, Bold City, Bud Light, Coors, Corona, Heinekin, Landshark and a specialty drink known as the Hail Mary. Prices tend to be on the high side, with wings ($10), pulled pork sandwiches ($10), fish and chips ($10), grilled mahi ($9), popcorn ($6) and peanuts ($6). Domestic beers run around $8.00, with imports at $10. A nice feature at Everbank Field is several ticketed seating areas that have restricted access and have their own food service area dedicated to just that section, which keeps the lines at a minimum.
You definitely will want to bring a tailgate feast or plan to eat inside the stadium, as there are no outside restaurants in the immediate vicinity of the stadium. (See Neighborhood section for restaurant recommendations at the nearby Jacksonville Landing district).
The Jaguars are Jacksonville's only major league franchise, and the fans will support the team through thick or thin. In their early years, the Jaguars were very competitive under the leadership of Coach Tom Coughlin and Coach Jack Del Rio, and the team presently is rebuilding through their high draft picks. Jacksonville is also a city that does not take itself too seriously, and the atmosphere at the games is party-like, with plenty of opportunities to have a good time and enjoy the nice weather. One of the most unique features of EverBank Field is the State Farm Fan Cave. It is located in the Bud Light Party Zone, and offers a great view of the game, and has 18 TV's carrying the other NFL games of that day, along with 34 recliners and three bars. The stadium also adds to the enjoyment of the fans by having the two biggest video scoreboards in the world, which are even larger than the Dallas Cowboys' AT&T monsters. If it is a hot day or the game is out of reach, fans can cool off at one of two swimming pools perched over the end zones on the Clevelander deck.
If the long-suffering Jags fans prayers for a win aren't being heard, it won't be for a lack of churches nearby. There are eight churches located within a few blocks of EverBank Field. They include Baptist, Catholic, Methodist, Episcopal and Presbyterian denominations. If that doesn't cover all the bases, you can go to the adjoining Baseball Grounds of Jacksonville, home of the Jacksonville Suns. The stadium left an existing church standing on its property just past the left field foul pole (locals call it the "Amen Corner"). Completing this unique neighborhood is the Veterans Memorial Arena, which hosts Jacksonville University basketball, the Jacksonville Sharks of the Arena Football League and the Jacksonville Bullies of the Professional Lacrosse League and major music concerts. This unique pairing of churches/sports facilities offers you the opportunity to gamble, drink and cuss at the game, then atone for your sins before leaving the neighborhood.
Less than five miles from the stadium is Jacksonville Landing, an entertainment district along the St. John's River. Amongst the restaurants and nightlife located in the district are American Grill ($25 & up for dinner), Benny's Steak and Seafood ($25 and up for dinner) and MacCool's Irish Pub ($15 and up). Nightclubs in the development include Maverick's and the Voodoo Ultra Lounge. A majority of the hotels in town will be located just across the street or the river from Jacksonville Landing. Hotel brands include Hilton Garden Inn, the Omni Jacksonville, the Hyatt Regency and Days Inn.
Being in Florida, many of the fans are transplants from colder regions of the country that may have an allegiance to the NFL team of their younger years. It is not unusual to see a fan in JagWear for every game, except when a NY, Philadelphia, Boston or Minnesota team comes to town. For that one week, they bring out their old fan wear from their old home team. There is a definite pickup in attendance when teams from these areas travel to Jacksonville.
The team has created a strong local fan base by starting The Jungle, a fan club designed to make Jaguar fans more in touch with their local team. Leading this campaign is the team's very popular "hip cat" mascot Jaxson de Ville. Jaxson must truly have nine lives, as he enters the stadium before each game on a zip line attached to one of the stadium's light towers. He also makes countless visits to area schools to promote the NFL "Play 60" physical activity campaign.
The team's losing record over the last few years has, surprisingly, not dampened fan enthusiasm for the Jaguars. The scoreboards lead them through numerous cheers, and they celebrate each first down with a cheer of "move those chains" that is unique to the Jags franchise. New ownership, a new coach , high draft picks and a great stadium experience give fans some reason for hope that the team will return to its winning ways of its early years in the near future.
The area surrounding EverBank Field is a sea of parking (literally lots A-Z). Some lots are designated for season ticket holders, tailgaters, bicyclists and the disabled. There is a large parking deck located close to the Veterans Memorial Arena for those wishing to keep their cars cool during the hot days at the beginning of the season. Parking is generally in the $25 range. The only drawback is that, due to the winding nature of the St. Johns River, Jacksonville is a city of many bridges, and this is where most of the traffic bottlenecks occur both before and after the game. An alternative to the stadium lots is to take a Jacksonville Transit Authority shuttle bus from one of many downtown pick up points. This service is offered for $7 round trip.
You don't go to just watch a football game at EverBank... you go to be entertained. Ticket prices are very reasonable, as Jacksonville is the smallest market in the NFL, other than Green Bay. Once inside the stadium, you have three hours of pre-game fun at no extra charge, and any ticket holder can enjoy the Budweiser Fun Zone, State Farm Fan Cave and the antics of Jaxson de Ville for no additional cost. The concession prices do tend to be on the high side, and parking can be $25- $50 for a close-in space to the stadium. The Jaguars are a unique franchise, as they allow you to bring in food from the outside, as long as the items are enclosed in NFL-approved clear containers limited to a certain size. This is a fan-friendly move, as many Jags fans are retired or members of the military, and for that reason, the Jags earn a high rating.
he first Saturday in November is another great time to be at EverBank Field, as the University of Georgia and the University of Florida face off at the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The stadium is considered a neutral site, as each school is allotted 50% of the tickets. The tailgating for this game starts days in advance, as both schools curtail classes early in the week. The game is always nationally-televised and is usually very competitive, no matter how good or bad the team's records are.
Another extra is EverBank Field's convenience to the beaches of Jacksonville. The temperate climate of Jacksonville allows you to enjoy both a beach vacation and a football game well into the fall.
I was very pleasantly surprised by my EverBank Field experience. Yes, wins are what put people in the stands. But a team that puts its fans first, offers excellent customer service and has plenty of unique and fun things to do in its stadium can still count on a very loyal fan base that will stick with them through thick and thin.
Ten weeks into the 2009 season, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium has been one of the NFL's most buzzworthy facilities. Not for being big and flashy like the Dallas Cowboys' new billion-dollar home "it isn't" and not because it's on a farewell tour like Giants Stadium. (Not yet, at least.)
Instead, "The Jack" has been a hot topic for the national media because it's practically empty for Jaguars games.
There are over 67,000 seats in the stadium, not including almost 10,000 in the upper corners that remain covered like training wheels for drawing a "sellout" crowd. But Jacksonville sold less than 46,000 tickets on average for each of the team's first three home contests this year, with reported attendance figures closer to 40,000 per game.
The upshot? Walk-up ticket buyers can score seats that would be prime real estate in other NFL stadiums.
Lower-level tickets were available on the team's website less than a week before the game, including one in the corner of the north end zone that provided an excellent view of the Jaguars' 24-21 win over the Kansas City Chiefs.
With Jacksonville residents spending their Sunday afternoons elsewhere in one of the many churches within walking distance of the stadium, perhaps the Jaguars have won three of their four home games. At 5-4 on the year, they're dark horse playoff contenders despite bidding good-bye to over half of last year's 53-man roster and starting four rookies from their 2009 draft crop.
Factor in top-tier superstars like running back Maurice Jones-Drew and cornerback Rashean Mathis, and Jacksonville's on-field product figures to be respectable for years to come. Like the team, the fan experience at The Jack isn't mind-blowing, but it has its pluses.
EverBank Field is completely average in nearly all respects. The only thing that stands out is the water taxi from the south shore, but at $10 return, it doesn't make much sense unless you are alone. There are shuttle buses as well. The Jaguars are going through a tough time and it shows, with thousands of empty seats. There are a few interesting food choices, and the fantasy football lounge is new (but only in the club sections). Tickets are easily available on the street these days.
I recently drove up for the Gator Bowl and I had a great time. I splurged and bought 50 yard line tickets and had access to the club level amenities. The indoor club facilities were fantastic, 7 different restaurants in a food court area. Along with the two convenience stores and the open bar made the long journey worth it. Access to the stadium was easily found even for the first timer like myself. I did not buy a parking pass online for $50. I used one of the private lots behind the sponsored lots. It cost only $20 but I had to wait until the sponsored lot was empty before they let us out of the parking lot. Over all it was a great day and if my team happens to play there again I would not mind attending another game there.
441 Haines St
Jacksonville, FL 32202
2 Independent Dr
Jacksonville, FL 32202
2 Independent Dr #175
Jacksonville, FL 32202
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