"We won't go forward," (team rep Paul) Harden said. "We'll look for alternative sources, if they're there. This is a publicly owned building. It's the city of Jacksonville's decisions. As far as the football team is concerned, these are the dollars they were planning on spending for the upgrades."Let's put aside the fact that the Jaguars' club-level seating renovations may not be the kind of tourism-driver Florida taxpayers should expect for their $30 million over 30 years.
And let's also put aside the fact that the team sold naming rights to the renovated club seats this week. And that those profits will be going to billionaire owner Shahid Khan, not the public.
See, this threatmongering is absurd simply on the fact that the Jaguars' own subsidy application claims the $18 million club upgrade would net the team an additional $2.3 million per year (plus the naming rights).
So, assuming Khan has no trouble financing a construction loan, the Jags could conceivably just pay for the profitable club renovations themselves now and make their investment back in 10-15 years. The state, however, would need about 200 years to recoup its investment based on its 6% sales tax cut of that "new" revenue.
At the end of the day, we shouldn't believe the Jags' threats. Teams routinely exaggerate the scary repercussions of not getting state money. But the truth is, as the Jags proved in 2013 with their scoreboard-replacement and end zone renovation project, pro teams typically just pay for construction themselves when they strike out on a subsidy. Especially in Florida, where you can always just come back again (2014) and again (2015) asking for those dollars.
2/19/15 - Lawmakers kick can down road again on subsidy decision
2/12/15 - Conservative group launches anti-stadium subsidy radio ad
2/11/15 - Lobbying ramps up after rankings come in