“If Jacksonville loses an NFL team, they’re never going to get another one,” Jacksonville Jaguars president Mark Lamping said last week. “Do you want to keep the NFL in Jacksonville?”
Those comments at the AXS DRIVE conference were widely seen as a threat to move the Jaguars out of Jacksonville, where they have been since joining the NFL as an expansion team in 1995.
However, the team’s president is walking back those comments, saying they were never meant to be malicious.
“That’s obviously taken totally out of context,” Lamping told News4JAX. “It’s been very consistent, dating back to 2016, we can’t extend our lease unless we find a stadium solution. That is so important. You’ve heard me say that many, many times dating back to 2016. And to try to turn that into a statement that here’s this ultimatum, it just isn’t true.”
“Viewing those comments as a threat to leave Jacksonville isn’t correct,” Lamping added.
The Jags’ lease at EverBank Stadium — formerly known as TIAA Bank Field from 2018 until this season — is scheduled to expire in 2030.
Opening in 1995, the stadium is the league’s seventh-oldest and, despite its warm-weather locale, has hosted the Super Bowl just once (XXXIX in 2005).
The team is planning major renovations to EverBank Stadium that would transform it into a self-described “Stadium of the Future” to the tune of $2 billion. The core of this controversy stems from the Jaguars seeking a 50-50 split with the public to fund the project.
Per a poll from the University of North Florida, only 6% of Duval County residents polled would support the $1 billion ask in public money — however, 46% said they would approve of it if it meant the difference between keeping the Jaguars in Jacksonville or not.
Meanwhile, the Jaguars will play two consecutive games in London over the next two weeks — the first team in NFL history to do so.