JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Jacksonville Mayor Donna Deegan is speaking exclusively with the Action Sports Jax team across the pond in London.
This comes as the Jacksonville Jaguars prepare to face the Buffalo Bills this weekend at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium. The Big Cats beat the Atlanta Falcons at Wembley Stadium on Sunday 23-7.
Action Sports Jax Sports Director Brent Martineau talked with Deegan about possible upgrades to Everbank Stadium.
The No. 1 off-the-field topic in Jacksonville around the Jaguars is the stadium renovation. The Jaguars are eyeing a proposal estimated to cost in the billions of dollars. Places like Buffalo and Tennessee recently reached agreements on new stadiums: Could the Jags be next?
Discussions are already underway with the city. Deegan has hired a third-party to do the negotiations with the Jaguars. She was in London last week and spent time with Jaguars team president Mark Lamping and Jaguars owner Shad Khan.
Martineau asked Deegan about her involvement in the stadium talks despite hiring a third party to negotiate.
“Ultimately I will have the final say on our team. The buck stops with me,” she said. “But then there’s council. We’ll have to go through council and present that plan once we have it -- see where that goes. I’m hopeful. I think everyone wants to see this work. I’ve had so many community meetings since I was elected and I hear over and over again -- people don’t want to spend public money on the stadium. I know that the fans want it -- I know some people don’t see the benefit of it -- I see a lot of benefit from it -- pride in this team and this city, relationships that we can build business wise, but the bottom line is -- 80 percent say don’t want to spend the money, 80 percent don’t want to lose the Jags … those two things are simply mutually exclusive so an agreement must be reached. Hopefully we come up with one that we all are pretty pleased with.”
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Some fans wonder if the London game would be used as leverage in a stadium negotiation. Deegan said she understands fans who want that, but it’s her belief right now that the London game is a win-win for the Jags and the city, especially when it comes to economic development in Jacksonville.