JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- New season. New look. This afternoon, the Big Cats announced plans to shell out $ 20 million in an effort to spruce up EverBank Field.
"It will totally change the look and feel of the stadium," President Mark Lamping said.
Jacksonville is picking up a bigger portion of the bill. Leaders have pledged an additional $43 million, which will be paid for through existing sources, like tax revenue from hotels.
We're told Jacksonville taxpayers will not pick up the bill.
"This is another way of keeping the commitment the city made when it secured an NFL team," Mayor Alvin Brown said.
Specifically, EverBank will get a new scoreboard in each zone, with dimensions that will make them the largest of their kind in the world. There will also be a new scoreboard control room equipped with state of the art software and a new platform in the north end zone with a pool, unique food and other North Florida themed imagery.
"When people from across the country, maybe even across the world tune in to see events at EverBank Field, they'll get a sense of what Jacksonville and this part of the country is all about," Lamping said.
The hope is that the improvements will not only draw more NFL fans, but help the Florida/Georgia game, our new soccer team and bring in major entertainment acts for years to come.
"I think this is the right thing to do. It's the right investment for the city," Brown said.
Stadium legislation is supposed to be presented to City Council today. Pending approval, the improvements should be finished by the 2014 season.