As the Jaguars expand their ‘stadium of the future’ community huddle-ups to Clay and St. Johns Counties, a new poll shows a majority of Duval County registered voters are opposed to spending public funds on stadium and sports district development.
A poll by the Public Opinion Research Lab at the University of North Florida shows that many are willing to make concessions to keep the Jacksonville Jaguars in town.
Respondents were asked to choose which outcome they support the most from a list of different options, ranging from no public investment to spending $1 billion of public funds.
51% chose the Jaguars purchasing the land and paying for stadium renovations and sports district development with no public investment, with just 6% in support of the $1 billion public investment currently being proposed by the Jaguars, the remaining 33% were split between $250 million and $500 million of public funds being spent on the upgrades, and 9% said they didn’t know or refused to answer.
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However, when asked whether they would support the city spending $1 billion if it meant the difference between the Jaguars staying in Jacksonville or moving to another city, 46% said yes and 47% said no.
“It’s no wonder Duval County voters don’t want to foot the bill for stadium renovations, but what’s really interesting is their change of heart when given the ultimatum of a $1 billion public investment or the Jaguars walking away,” said Dr. Michael Binder, PORL faculty director. “This is just one of several reasons that local taxpayers are going to end up shelling out an enormous sum of money for this endeavor.”
When asked what was most important to them in a potential deal between the city and the Jaguars, 45% said community and economic investment in underserved neighborhoods, creating more entertainment downtown garnered 19%, 17% said negotiating the smallest possible public investment, 5% said minimizing construction time to ensure more games played at home, and just 4% said fixing the temperature problems in the stadium was most important.
In another question, 41% of respondents said that previous public-private partnerships with the Jaguars and owner Shad Khan, like the practice fields, Daily’s Place and previous stadium upgrades, met their expectations for economic growth and development downtown, 27% said they failed to meet their expectations and just 9% said they exceeded their expectations.