The Jaguars this week unveiled plans for a renovation of TIAA Bank Field that would keep the team out of its home stadium for at least two years. The team is exploring many potential temporary home sites, including an iconic NASCAR race track.
VenuesNow reported Thursday that the Jaguars will meet with Daytona International Speedway officials about possibly playing games at the home of the iconic Daytona 500 and other prominent races. Other host sites, including two soccer stadiums in London, have also come up in reports.
“It would be an interesting solution but would also require significant investment in terms of infrastructure,” Jaguars president Mark Lamping said, according to VenuesNow. “It can accommodate a big crowd. It would be a little wonky, but it’s worth considering. After the [Daytona Rising] renovations [inside the facility], it’s nice.”
In 2016, Daytona International Speedway spent $400 million to upgrade concourses and luxury suites.
Daytona International Speedway capacity
The track has a capacity of 101,500, nearly 20,000 more than MetLife Stadium’s listed capacity of 82,500, the largest among NFL stadiums.
The speedway has hosted football games before. In 1959, it hosted several high school football games. In 1974 and 1975, Bethune-Cookman, an HBCU in Daytona Beach, Fla., played four football games on the infield. The most recent example of a NASCAR venue hosting a football game is Bristol Motor Speedway hosting a clash in 2016 between Virginia Tech and Tennessee, with 150,000 people piling into the stands.
Daytona International Speedway is not a likely home for the Jaguars, particularly when considering the renovations that would likely need to be made to transition the NASCAR track to a suitable home for an NFL team during the fall.
And there are plenty of other possible alternatives. First Coast News reported that the list includes Camping World Stadium in Orlando; Ben Hill Griffin Stadium (aka The Swamp) in Gainesville, home of the University of Florida; and Wembley Stadium and Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London. There is also consideration for a temporary stadium at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville. The Jaguars already move one of their home games to London each season.
TIAA Bank Field is expected to undergo renovations that will include adding a roof canopy to reduce the heat in the stadium; expanding the main concourse; and building lookout decks over the city. There will also be new elevators and escalators, 220 new places to buy food and drinks, new restrooms and new living room boxes. The project is expected to cost between $1.3 billion and $1.4 billion, with improvements to the surrounding area potentially bringing the cost up to $2 billion.
Renovating the stadium was chosen as an alternative to building a new stadium in Jacksonville. Progress on the renovation could begin in February 2025, with the project being completed in the summer before the 2028 NFL season.
The Jaguars certainly have interesting options on the table, including Daytona and the two London stadiums. But don’t be surprised if the actual answer winds up being a little less exciting.