JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - The Jags have been getting ready for this AFC Championship grudge rematch since Jan. 21. As it turns out, fans should be well-prepared too.
“At [TIAA Bank Field] in September, it’s always steamy. It’s always a sweat bath,” First Coast News chief meteorologist Tim Deegan advised Friday, two days ahead of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ home opener.
“In the middle of tailgating, it’s going to be middle-90s, it’s going to feel like 105 degrees,” he cautioned.
Parking lots at ‘The Bank’ will open at 12:30 p.m. Sunday afternoon, nearly a full four hours before the scheduled 4:25 p.m. kickoff.
“I think about one eight-to-12-ounce bottle or glass of water every hour is probably good,” emergency medical doctor Dustin Brimblecom of Baptist Health recommended as minimum hydration for people planning to tailgate. That advice changes for those drinking alcoholic beverages such as beer, which actually dehydrates the body.
“I recommend one or two non-alcoholic beverages with each alcoholic beverage you have,” Dr. Brimblecom added.
Jaguars personnel are reminding fans that although water can be bought inside the stadium, it cannot be brought in. Dr. Brimblecom also recommended fans apply sunscreen at least SPF 50 or stronger before tailgating and again before the game. The Jags organization pointed out that sunblock can be brought in if it is in small tubes; larger cans are prohibited. SPF is also available for purchase in the stadium.
Acknowledging that dehydration is the most common health hazard during early-season home games, Sarah Mathis with the Jags’ front office pointed out that there will be two cooling stations – JTA buses – on stadium property. For fans needing a brief respite of shade – there are few if any shaded or covered seats in TIAA Bank Field – the adjacent Daily’s Place amphitheater, which is covered, will be accessible, featuring a large LED screen showing the live-action of the game.
Mathis also reminded that ticketing is all-electronic.
“Have it ready, have it downloaded to your mobile device,” she said. “Make sure, as your approaching the stadium gates, that your bar code’s ready. If there isn’t a barcode, QR code ready to scan, you’re not going to be able to get in.”
She said smartphone ticketing is pro-convenience.
“For one,” she began, “you’re not having to worry about meeting up with your buddy to go give him his ticket. “You can just transfer it to him right on your mobile device.”
“It prevents fraud. You don’t have to worry about purchasing that’s not going to be valid and you’re going to get turned away at the stadium gates,” Mathis assured, but with a caveat. “Please don’t be accepting screenshots from people, have them actually transfer the tickets to you, so that way you have them saved on your mobile device.”
For mobile ticketing instructions, click here.
Speaking of tickets, as of Friday evening there were tickets available online via the Jaguars’ website, ranging from $89 to $3,889, many of which were verified resale tickets. It’s all a matter of where you want to sit and how much you’re willing to pay. But Mathis predicted a capacity crowd.
“We are expecting over 67,000 fans, so it’s going to be a great crowd for a home opener.”
Also as of Friday evening, Tim Deegan was predicting a 40% chance of thunderstorms during the game. While clear ponchos are allowed in TIAA Bank Field, umbrellas are not.
But along with all the cautionary advice about the weather, Tim – a Jags season ticket holder since the team’s inception – pointed out a saving grace about the scheduling of Sunday’s game, one for which he credits the Jags’ climb out of the cellar in recent years.
“This is one of the nice things about being a contender,” he said with smiling affectation. “Because as anybody who follows NFL football [knows], the better you do, the later you play,” he said, noting that during the losing years the Jags usually played home games at 1 P.M.
“We’re going to have some shade, we’re actually going to have some breeze,” he said. “By kickoff, I’m thinking 92 [degrees]; by the third quarter, the upper to middle 80s.”
“I’m pumped!” he concluded.
The Jags urge all fans to be parked by 1:30 and in the stadium by 3:30 p.m.