Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stadium Name Plot Thickens

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Stadium Name Plot Thickens

Article excerpt

The snit over the stadium naming rights deal deepened yesterday

when some City Council members said they will press forward with

a plan to include Jacksonville in the stadium's name.

And they said they are serious about using bed-tax money

controlled by the Duval County Tourist Development Council to

pay for it.

"I am going to fight like hell to keep Jacksonville in the name

of that stadium," said City Councilman Jim Tullis, a former

tourist council chairman. "We are very, very serious about this.

We are dead serious."

The idea of using public money to pay for the stadium's name

comes amid questions being raised by council members over how

much money the city should get in a naming rights deal reached

between the Jacksonville Jaguars and Alltel Corp., a Little

Rock, Ark.-based telecommunications and informations services

company.

Also at issue is the omission of city officials from

negotiations between the Jaguars and Alltel.

"What they [the Jaguars] have brought us is ridiculous," said

City Councilman Terry Wood, a member of the finance committee,

which delayed acting on the Jaguars-Alltel deal this week.

"We [city officials] were never privy to the negotiations . . .

we [Jaguars and city officials] were supposed to sit down and

mutually make an agreement," Wood said.

The Jaguars and Alltel announced a deal three weeks ago that

Jacksonville Municipal Stadium would be renamed Alltel Stadium.

Alltel would pay $6.2 million over 10 years, which would be

split between the football team and the city.

But some city officials have questioned two other deals made

between the football team and Alltel, one to be a major

corporate sponsor and the other for a suite at the stadium. The

Jaguars have not said how much money the team is getting for

those two deals, saying the information is proprietary.

"There are a lot of pots of money that we can take money from

to buy the stadium naming rights," Tullis said. "I am not going

to vote for the contract the way it is."

Tullis said if the city paid $1 million a year for the stadium

naming rights, it would be well worth it because of the national

exposure. …

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