Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars: Cats out of the Bag World's Eyes Turning to Jacksonville

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Jaguars: Cats out of the Bag World's Eyes Turning to Jacksonville

Article excerpt

********** CORRECTION (1/7/97)

Because of a reporting error, a story on Page A-1 yesterday

had the incorrect number of homes reached by CNN. The network

reaches 70 million homes nationwide.

**********

The British Broadcasting Corp. tried repeatedly to call the

Jacksonville Jaguars yesterday.

National television news Saturday featured Jacksonville

Municipal Stadium as Jaguars officials estimated up to 40,000

ecstatic fans converged to welcome back the team.

A network sports spokesman compared the Jaguars win over the

Denver Broncos on Saturday to David's victory over Goliath.

The Jaguars are probably the hottest sports story in America

this week.

This is national exposure. International exposure.

The networks and many national publications are scrambling for

a piece of the Jaguars story.

"The Jaguars have been a great story all season long, but now

they've become a very important story for CNN to cover," CNN

Sports spokesman Andy Mitchell said yesterday. "They've been

interesting because they're one of the newer teams. But now

they're one of the elite teams. That makes it a much better

story."

The Jaguars are one of four teams left vying for Super Bowl

XXXI. Every day this week at least, their story will be

broadcast via CNN into 70,000 homes nationwide and in 210

countries and territories across the world, and even more

through the major networks. That inevitably will translate into

windfalls for the city, officials said.

The Jaguars' 30-27 win over the Denver Broncos on Saturday was

"a huge upset, one of the biggest in decades," Mitchell said.

ESPN, Sports Illustrated, ABC Sports, NBC Sports and other

national media already have been in town for stories on the

Jaguars, team spokesman Dan Edwards said yesterday.

"We've had calls from many of the newspapers that cover the

league at large, like the Dallas Morning News, the Chicago

Tribune, The Washington Post," he said. "I have messages here

from the BBC. I need to get back to them."

NBC Sports spokesman Ed Markey said yesterday: "There are great

stories on every level in this. It's David beating Goliath on

Goliath's home turf; it's an expansion team; it's an expansion

team that started out 3-6 and then turned it around.

"It's [quarterback] Mark Brunell," he said. "Most football

people have known how good he is, but now the whole country

knows. It's [running back] Natrone Means. . . . There's the

story of 40,000 fans watching the game on video at the

Jacksonville stadium at 2 o'clock in the morning. That's very

unusual."

As the Jaguars' marketing director and Chamber of Commerce

chairman, Dan Connell had two major reasons to speak in

superlatives yesterday.

"We've had an amazing amount of new visibility for Jacksonville

in the past couple of weeks since we made the playoffs," Connell

said. "Now, after the Denver game, you won't be able to pick up

a major newspaper anywhere in the United States for the next

week and not see something about Jacksonville in there."

As the team marketing director, he said the Jaguars would be

reaping infinite rewards from the team's showing on the field.

He said Jaguars merchandise undoubtedly will be a hot retail

item nationwide and that marketing the team in all phases would

become more fruitful.

As the chamber chairman, he said the city, which has been

attracting more people and businesses since the NFL franchise

was awarded to Jacksonville several years ago, would attract

even more attention after making the playoffs, beating the

Buffalo Bills in the first round and Saturday's win over Denver. …

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