Games "tend to be more of a social outing than a setting for hardcore fans." "Some fans still don't get that going to an NFL game is a participatory event." Some "leave early if it's a little cold." There isn't "a lot of trash-talking." And "we have too many of the opposing teams' fans." To be fair, "Jacksonville doesn't have the history of some of the other franchises in the league; and we still have fans who grew up with other teams." "The fans are mostly college, 'rah-rah' types," who, "given the Gators, Bulldogs and Seminoles games," "have a high football IQ." A "friendly" atmosphere pervades, but "the last two years have been incredible. We sold out every game last year and the noise was deafening."
7 out of 10
FOOD & SOUVENIRS
Soda (24 oz.)
Beer (18 oz.)
Expected Meal Cost
"Both fixed and cart food and drink stations are plentiful and offer a wide variety of options, among them "several local restaurants." "Red Baron Pizza is good, but the best place is Bubba Burger; the burgers and chicken fingers are always hot." Others praise the "excellent brisket at Andrew Jackson's BBQ," and the "Outback [Steakhouse] outpost" for "the best cheese fries and hamburgers out there." With all of those options, it's probably wise to stay away from "regular hot dogs that taste like leftovers from the 1998 season." Better, many fans suggest "anything from the freshly cut deli sandwiches to traditional nachos" at the Bud Zone, although it "is always crowded and the lines are long."
6 out of 10
Driving access -- and egress -- is "the best in the NFL." "Although the stadium is located in the heart of downtown, traffic flows surprisingly well in and out." "Many roads lead into and out of the stadium" and "a lot of the streets become one way before or following a game, which allows traffic to flow easily." "The stadium is located downtown with easy access to major interstates." With "lots of experienced police intervention at key traffic points" fans "never sit in traffic more than 10 minutes" waiting to move. "Most fans take advantage of the public park-and-ride shuttle service, which allows fans to avoid downtown traffic" and still get "dropped off at the gate." As for parking "there is plenty of it for free within walking distance of the stadium." Should you hope to avoid traffic altogether, a water taxi from Jacksonville Landing on the St. John's River "takes you to and from the game with ease."
7 out of 10
"After a decade, it still seems in its infancy. There is some good-smelling stuff and people toss footballs, but there is no real tradition with regional foods, like the brats you might imagine at Green Bay." The "laid-back" scene "has the potential to rock, week-in, week-out, but it needs more dedicated early risers." "A lot of people roll in after church or after having been to a Florida or a Florida State game the day before and don't want to get up earlier." Once awake, many fans find "the best tailgating occurs the farther away you get from the stadium ... at the private grass lots on the river." "Southern rock can be heard virtually anywhere" at this "family-oriented" event, and "good barbecue shrimp is all around." Closer to the stadium is a team-run tailgating lot, "which has real bathrooms, a bar, concessions and live broadcasts." No matter the efforts, "for a city that holds the 'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party' [at the Florida-Georgia game]," it's clear the Jags "draw a much milder tailgate scene in comparison."
"It's not exactly an architectural marvel, but it gets the job done," writes some of a place others feel "seems kinda like a concrete bowl." "All the seats have an unobstructed views," although thousands of them are covered under a tarp to help facilitate sellouts. Coming off hosting the Super Bowl in 2005, Municipal Stadium sports "new escalators, seat cup holders and large Jumbotrons." Also added was a "full sports bar in the south end zone" called the Bud Zone, where "you can stand out on the patio in front and get a great view of the field" or "go inside and watch five games at once." The Bud Zone is one of "many different options" for those who "don't want to be locked into their seat." The stadium "opens up to the river to the south, allowing a cool breeze to come in with beautiful views of the water." The Jaguars' D-Line, "a marching band with attitude," and a mascot who "skydives, rappels or rides a motorcycle into the stadium" also provide something to fill the time between snaps. This "isn't a palace, but it suits us just fine."
7 out of 10
"It's a downtown area that is going through a major transition." "The neighborhood is, for the most part, and industrial area" "with some shipyards." North of the stadium is "a lower-income area with residential homes," "but it is safe." In the more immediate vicinity are "a minor league baseball stadium, an arena and" "two very nice parks." East of the facility is the St. John's River and "within a mile" is the "beautiful River Walk area" and all of its nightlife. Though the neighborhood "still looks run down," to many, the "money pouring into the community from developers" has "vastly improved things over the last 10 years."
4 out of 10
As much as the NFL has done to help promote the Jacksonville market, the Jaguars are learning that building a loyal, dedicated fan base simply takes time. In a generation, those tarps covering wide swaths of seating will become less and less necessary, neighborhood hangouts will emerge and the mascot will no longer be a vital attraction. Municipal Stadium offers a nice base to build from, with comfort, a fair number of amenities and a location that isn't too far from the city. Waiting for all of those elements to coalesce will require patience the likes of which society isn't accustomed to nowadays, but also the likes of which storied franchises are made.
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