Jacksonville Jaguars officials are planning to meet with officials from Daytona International Speedway about the possibility of using the venue as a temporary home during renovation of TIAA Bank Field, per Don Muret of Venues Now. The organization released its stadium renovation plans on Wednesday and the entire project is estimated to cost up to $2 billion. The full-scale project could force the Jaguars to play games away from its normal home venue for two seasons, making Daytona an option worth considering.
Located roughly 90 miles south of Jacksonville, FL, Daytona International Speedway is the most famous raceway in NASCAR and has a capacity of over 100,000. Given its relatively close proximity along the coast of northeast Florida, it makes sense for the Jags to look into it as a temporary home. In 2014, they even entertained the idea of hosting a preseason game at the venue.
Daytona International Speedway has hosted a handful of high school and college football games throughout its existence, including some home games for Daytona Beach-based Bethune-Cookman in the 1970’s and ‘80’s. The most recent instance of a high level football game being held at a racetrack was in 2016, when Tennessee faced Virginia Tech at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, TN. That game drew over 156,000 people to the venue, setting the record for the most attended college football game in history.
Should the Daytona idea not come to fruition, another viable option for the Jags would be the University of Florida’s Ben Hill Griffin Stadium 75 miles south in Gainesville, FL. There are semi-recent examples of an NFL franchise using a college stadium as a temporary home during stadium renovations. In 1995, the Carolina Panthers used Clemson’s Memorial Stadium as their home while Bank of America Stadium was being built. And in 2002, the Chicago Bears used Illinois’ Memorial Stadium as its home while Soldier Field was being renovated.