We have previously posted (here and here) about the amendment to the Jaguars lease and the issues with the costs and the free club seats for City bigshots. One issue we haven’t really looked at is the proliferation of billboards and signs the lease amendment will bring to the stadium area. The Jaguars say the signs are necessary in order to bring in more money for them. The City will get 25% of the revenue, but will have to take the signs down at their own expense for other events. But I have to ask: do we really want our stadium area to look like one giant billboard?
I was curious as to what other football stadiums do, so I went googling for photos on the web and happened to find a site that contains photos of all the NFL stadiums. I also went on some other sites that have better close-ups of the stadiums and I didn’t see alot of exterior signs on the outside of their stadiums or on the back side of their stadium lights, or even in their parking lots. So it appears Jacksonville will be fairly unique in this endeavor.
Jacksonville has been unique in another area. Our fair city has been in the forefront of billboard regulation and amortization – and it shows. In 1987, a group of citizens in Jacksonville proposed to regulate billboards through a citizen initiative. The initiative was approved by 60 percent of the voters despite an aggressive campaign and heavy spending against it by two large billboard companies. The measure banned new billboards as off-premise advertising signs and set up an amortization schedule that would remove 450 billboards by 1998 and an additional 550 billboards by 2015. No thousands of tacky billboards here. In fact, Jacksonville’s program has been the model for numerous billboard programs throughout the nation. So why let them proliferate in our stadium (and downtown) area where most out of town visitors will be bombarded with them?
With the Jaguars usually getting everything they ask for, I guess I was not surprised to see that the lease was approved unanimously by Council committees last week. and is up for hearing at the City Council meeting this Tuesday night. I expect the bill will sail through.
But wouldn’t it be nice (for once) if we didn’t continue giving the Jaguars everything they ask for (and exempting them from City regulations) regardless of how much it costs or how tacky it will look?