Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars, Fair on Course for Collision

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars, Fair on Course for Collision

Article excerpt

When the National Football League schedule came out for the 1997

season, it honored a request from Jaguars owner Wayne Weaver:

The team would leave Alltel Stadium for three weeks in the

middle of the season to make room for the Jacksonville fair and

the Florida-Georgia football game.

But now, as the Jaguars battle through the stretch of road

games, Weaver says he won't make the request again.

That could leave the Jaguars, the fair and the Florida-Georgia

game -- three of Jacksonville's most-popular attractions -- on a

future collision course as they vie for space in the city-owned

stadium complex.

"Long term, there's got to be a better fix for it," said Al

Kinard, an aide to Mayor John Delaney.

Weaver's decision to seek a three-game road trip helped remove

any conflicts this year. The Greater Jacksonville Agricultural

Fair had its traditional mid-October start and covered two

weekends, ending today. The Florida-Georgia game will be

Saturday.

But there could be problems in the future if the fair and the

Jaguars are scheduled for the same weekend, primarily because

they use many of the same parking lots. Among the biggest

difficulties: The fair sets up carnival equipment on lots that

are reserved for Jaguars fans on game days.

At the same time, team and stadium officials say it would be

hard to hold a Florida-Georgia game and a Jaguars game during

the same weekend because of problems in preparing the stadium.

Conflicts might be eased some years, such as 1998, because the

fair and the Florida-Georgia game will share a weekend. While

that might be a parking headache for fairgoers and college fans,

it will reduce conflicts with the Jaguars -- if the Jaguars are

out of town for the two weeks of the fair.

But other years, such as this year, the fair and the college

game are spread over three weekends. The past two years, the

Jaguars were on the road during the fair and didn't play during

the week of the Florida-Georgia game.

Weaver said he doesn't plan to make scheduling allowances for

the fair, because it hurts his team to play on the road three

weeks in a row. …

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