Orlando Jaguars?

Earlier this week in an Orlando Sentinel article, columnist Mike Bianchi makes mention that in a recent interview with the Sentinel, Jags owner Wayne Weaver suggests that his Jaguars could play a regular season game or two in the city of Orlando. Weaver hinted that the NFL could be going to an 18-game regular season, which has been speculated ever since Roger Goodell took the commissioner role.

"There's certainly the possibility that we would play some out-of-market games," Weaver said. "If it happened, Orlando would be the best option and most reasonable location. In the past, we have reached out to try and cultivate that market and haven't had as much success as we would have liked. We probably need to do a better job. That's a given. We are looking at a long-term strategy and thinking out of the box on how we can build a fan base in Orlando."

While some Jacksonville Jaguar fans might see this as a bad thing, I personally believe it is a good thing for the future of the franchise, to at least keep it in the region. I do not believe the team would consider moving permanently to the city of Orlando. It's not even feasible to play an NFL game in Orlando currently. There isn't an NFL stadium to play in. The only facility that could suffice is the Citrus Bowl, and let's be honest... that place is a dump.

In the meantime, the Jacksonville Jaguars should aggressively attack secondary markets such as Orlando, Daytona Beach, Tallahassee, Brunswick, and Saint Augustine. I drive every day to Saint Augustine down I-95 South for my radio show and I don't see a single billboard for the Jaguars. I see billboards for the team throughout Jacksonville, which is fine, but do people in Jacksonville really need to know the Jaguars are there? They know. The Jaguars advertising should be expanding to it's untapped secondary markets. Just a billboard or two down I-95 North and South and I-10 West could do wonders. The Miami Dolphins have billboards on I-4 down near Orlando. All three Florida franchises are beginning to struggle, and you can't let one get the upper hand on those precious secondary markets.

Piggybacking off the idea of playing a regular or preseason game (or both) in Orlando in the future, the Jaguars should consider moving their training camp to Orlando, possibly at Disney World. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers recently left Orlando and moved their training camp back to Tampa Bay. This would be a prime opportunity for the Jaguars to strike a secondary market it's failed to grab in the past. While moving camp out of Jacksonville might have some blow-back, the potential gain by holding it open to the public in Orlando is much more significant. Orlando is the country's second largest media market without an NFL team.

Should Jacksonville residents fear losing the team permanently to the city of Orlando? No. Not unless ground is broken on a new stadium, but even then the fear shouldn't be great. Orlando has a stigma as not the greatest professional sports town, but wait, Jacksonville is getting that stigma with each and every blackout.


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