Uncertain Future in Jacksonville for Jaguars

A report recently surfaced stemming from the Philadelphia Daily News that Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver has been shopping the team. Among the possible suitors for a new franchise are billionaire C. Dean Metropoulos, who is the former CEO of Pinnacle Foods, a New Jersey based company. Find out what else JagNation has learned.

Although Wayne Weaver has gone on record several times expelling the virtues of the Jacksonville community and has never publicly said anything about the sale of the team, it appears as if the NFL wants a team in Los Angeles and they're not going the route of expansion, as there is complete equality with eight, four-team divisions.

"I'm a businessman, first and foremost," said Weaver. "I was very successful in the corporate community. I started my own business. I started two other businesses. I've never failed in anything I've done. When I make decisions, it's not downsizing something. You look at an organization and how do I make it more productive?"

Would the Jaguars as a business be more productive as the Los Angeles Jaguars?

It would certainly seem financially responsible for a team from a small market such as Jacksonville to move to the country's second-largest market. Add in a new stadium that's being built, http://www.losangelesfootballstadium.com/, and it would almost seem like a no-brainer for an NFL owner who doesn't benefit from PSL's (personal seat licenses) and has historically had trouble selling tickets despite having a very competitive team.

With these types of deals, not much concrete information is usually reported until the ink is dry on the contracts. Still, Weaver has maintained over the last several years that his team is not for sale and will stay in Jacksonville—

"I've had plenty of opportunities [to sell]. There are only 32 of them and, clearly, this one is not for sale."

So why would Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver decide to sell his franchise? There are several good reasons starting first and foremost with profit. The Jaguars are an exciting young team, and the value of the franchise could be upwards of $800 million. Instead of Wayne Weaver breaking even every year or turning a small profit or loss, he could see a financial windfall. Secondly, Weaver is not a young man. At 73 years of age, he may not want to be involved in the business of football in his golden years.

With franchises such as the Dallas Cowboys trying to choose between naming rights sponsors for their new stadium that are reportedly willing to pay in upwards of $20 million per year, Wayne Weaver hasn't had anyone step up to the plate to offer up naming rights for Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, since the Alltel Corporation's deal expired prior to 2007. That money is huge for NFL owners, as that revenue doesn't have to be shared, just as premium ticketing and skybox revenue also isn't shared.

This report doesn't necessarily mean that the Jaguars are being sold or the team will be packing its bags for Hollywood anytime soon. One of the tidbits from the report shows that the possible deal between Weaver and Metropoulos is being brokered by Sal Galatioto of Galatioto Sports Partners. This is the same firm that Weaver hired in 2007 to help find investors to lower his operating debt. It is possible that Wayne Weaver can be taken at his word and the Jaguars aren't indeed for sale, but are trying to put together a deal for a naming rights sponsor for Jacksonville Municipal Stadium.

At this point there isn't much information to be reported. However, we have learned that the Philadelphia writer is typically reliable with his sources. At the same time, owners generally don't make it a habit to speak publicly about selling their franchises, especially when there are tickets left to be sold, and that is certainly the case in Jacksonville. Wayne Weaver is already a very wealthy man. He doesn't need the revenue that selling his team would create, but it likely would be the right move fiscally. As Weaver has said repeatedly, "I'm a businessman first and foremost."

Jags Illustrated Top Stories