EverBank CEO Robert Clements Says Jacksonville Can Support NFL's Jaguars

EverBank Financial Corp. Chief Executive Robert Clements said a naming-rights agreement with the Jacksonville Jaguars will help put his company on the map and the National Football League team remain in the city.

Clements said the Jacksonville, Florida-based bank signed a five-year deal, starting at $3 million a year, to name the Jaguars stadium because it was an opportunity to give EverBank national exposure.

“We’re very bullish on the city of Jacksonville’s ability to support an NFL franchise,” he said in a telephone interview today. “The economy has gone through a rough patch but it’s always been a strong football town with strong college programs in the area.”

EverBank and the Jaguars are scheduled to unveil a new logo and signs for EverBank Field later today, along with directional signs throughout the city and at the Jaguars’ headquarters at One EverBank Field Drive.

EverBank is a closely held bank holding company with about $11.2 billion in assets and $9 billion in deposits, the company said in a news release. On Aug. 31, EverBank announced second-quarter earnings more than tripled to $43.8 million from the same period a year earlier.

“This partnership elevates the profile of the stadium, the market and the team,” Jaguars spokesman Dan Edwards said in a phone interview. “It’s an example of a partnership that every successful sports franchise needs to have.”

According to the Florida Times-Union, the Jaguars must return $100,000 to EverBank for every game they fail to sell out in time to be broadcast on television. NFL home games cannot be televised locally if they are not sold-out 72 hours prior to kickoff. The Jaguars declined to comment on specific conditions of the deal.

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Since 2001, the Jaguars have had 25 games removed from television -- or “blacked out” -- including seven of eight home games last season. The Jaguars drew an average of 49,651 fans at home last year, the third lowest total in the league.

This season, owner Wayne Weaver paid to avoid blackouts for both preseason games in Jacksonville. The NFL allows teams to buy back unsold tickets at 34 cents on the dollar. Though the Jaguars are 2,000 season tickets short of selling out for the season, the team expects to avoid blackouts for its first five games, Edwards said.

“One of the statements that this deal makes is that this market is viable and that this team is viable,” he said. “There is great commitment here from the franchise and the community to see this team succeed here in Jacksonville.”

Jacksonville hosted Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005. That same year the Jaguars covered 9,713 seats in the stadium’s upper deck, reducing capacity to 67,164.

To contact the reporter on this story: Aaron Kuriloff in New York at akuriloff@bloomberg.net; Eben Novy-Williams at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net.

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