Renovation

Jaguars, Florida-Georgia game could move for 2 seasons due to stadium renovations: Jacksonville major

Jacksonville major Lenny Curry said renovations to TIAA Bank Field could force the Jaguars to play in a different venue for up to two seasons. Here’s what you need to know:

  • Curry, speaking on 1010XL radio on Wednesday, said the renovations could stop games in the stadium from 2025-26. He said they were looking into local options for that time span, similar to how the Los Angeles Chargers previously played at Dignity Health Sports Park while waiting for SoFi Stadium to be completed.
  • The major also noted this could impact two seasons of the annual Florida-Georgia game played in Jacksonville. He suggested both teams could play one game apiece at home before returning to the city in 2027.
  • Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin, however, told The Athletic that the program is under the impression that if the project goes forward, the stadium will not be available in the years 2026 and 2027.
  • The Florida-Georgia rivalry has been played annually in Jacksonville since 1933. The only exceptions were in 1994 and 1995 when the games were played at campus sites while TIAA Bank Field was originally renovated prior to the Jaguars’ inaugural NFL season.

What they’re saying

“Best-case scenario, I expect that the renovation will take two years, two seasons. And the team will have to play somewhere else,” he said. “The goal would be to play somewhere in Jacksonville. Those discussions are happening. But two years is the goal.”

Regarding Florida-Georgia: “Maybe it’s a ’25-26 renovation, that’d be a good goal. And then both schools would, in those two years, get their home game,” Curry said. “And then the goal is to have already negotiated a deal that they’re back in Jax at the new stadium in ’27 and beyond.”

go-deeper

GO DEEPER

Where Florida-Georgia game could be played if 2-year hiatus from Jacksonville occurs

Where could they play during renovations?

Curry said the goal is to play at a venue in Jacksonville, but there are no venues even as large as Dignity Health Sports Park, the 27,000-seat stadium the Chargers played in following their move to Los Angeles. The University of North Florida, which does not sponsor football, has Hodges Stadium with a capacity of 9,400.

But while Jacksonville doesn’t have any other large stadiums with luxury boxes or modern amenities, there is one such place 74 miles away: the 90,000-seat Ben Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville. Florida’s football stadium does have suites and premium areas. The question is whether the university could logistically handle seven Florida home games and the Jaguars’ schedule (minus any London games).

“It would be worth a conversation,” Stricklin told The Athletic. “There are a lot of Jags fans in Gainesville given the close proximity to Jacksonville.” —Staples

Has this happened before?

If the Jaguars really need to search for a home away from home for two seasons, it won’t be the first time a team has faced such a problem in the league. The NFL has been through this rodeo before.

After the roof in the Metrodome partially caved in, the Minnesota Vikings played the 2014 and 2015 seasons at the University of Minnesota’s stadium, then named after TCF. The team moved into the new US Bank Stadium in 2016. And the LA Chargers, after relocating from San Diego, played for three seasons in a 27,000-seat soccer stadium before SoFi Stadium opened, while the LA Rams played four seasons at the dated LA Coliseum before the teams’ shared venue was ready.

These were all imperfect venues, so assuming the Jaguars do need a new place to play in 2025 and 2026, it is almost assuredly will not be a perfect solution. A temporary replacement venue is likely to be missing many of the modern accouterments fans and VIPs have come to expect.

There is another possibility. The team already contests one home game a season in London, so perhaps the league will seek to increase that figure for these two transient years? —Kaplan

(Photo: Mark J. Rebilas / USA Today)

Hi, I’m Chiki