BRADENTON, Fla. — Jacksonville, Fla., and the National Football League's Jaguars will fund $63 million in improvements at EverBank Field, including two new end zone video scoreboards that will be the largest of their kind in the world.
The city will pay $43.025 million toward the upgrades, while the Jaguars will pay $19.875 million and any cost overruns.
The deal was worked out after the Jaguars and several other professional sports franchises failed to get state funds to upgrade facilities during this year's legislative session.
Jacksonville will use bond financing, though the exact amount was not immediately available.
"We plan to issue bonds in the standard capital project plan, which must be approved by council," said city spokesman David DeCamp. "We are finishing the due diligence to determine revenue streams, but are confident we have the capacity and strong debt ratings to support the project without impacting other necessary capital projects."
The city's revenue bonds are rated AA by Fitch Ratings, Aa2 by Moody's Investors Service, and AA-minus by Standard & Poor's. Jacksonville's implied general obligation ratings are AA-plus by Fitch, Aa1 by Moody's, and AA by S&P.
The Jaguars stadium plan also calls for a major renovation of the north end zone to introduce a "world-class entertainment and viewing area for fans" that is expected to position EverBank Field as a destination on NFL game days and will help attract premier events in Jacksonville, city officials said.
The stadium, on the site of the old Gator Bowl, received bond financed renovations and opened in 1995 in time for the Jaguar's inaugural season. The stadium has received bond-financed upgrades several times over the years, including prior to hosting the Super Bowl in 2005.
"Enhancing our stadium is a positive step toward the strategic goal of downtown revitalization as well, and it's an opportunity to play to our strengths as a destination for sports and entertainment," said Mayor Alvin Brown. "Beyond the Jaguars games, we can expect the stadium enhancements to engage the thousands of fans who come to Jacksonville for the Florida-Georgia game, the Gator Bowl and other major events at EverBank Field."
The new video scoreboards in each end zone will each measure 55 by 301 feet. Other improvements will include upgrading video capabilities, installing LED displays, a new scoreboard control room with state-of-the-art software, and a new platform with pools, unique food and beverage offerings, and interactive activities.
"We do not take for granted the emotional and financial investment of Jaguars fans," said team president Mark Lamping. "In return, we're doing everything we can to produce a winner on the field, but in the areas we control…we owe our fans nothing less than the very best."
The Jaguars finished the 2012 season with two wins and 14 losses, and 2011 with five wins and 11 losses.