Wednesday, January 10

The Official Sponsor of Jax

Is a city having a sponsor a thing? You know, like Everbank Field, only a whole city rather than a measly stadium. Actually, is there a real bank named Everbank? That's embarrassing to ask, but I've never seen an Everbank in any of the local mini-malls littered with 5/3s (how weird is that name?). But this article is not about the existence of Everbank as an actual bank or Fifth Third as an actual fraction. It's about whether or not JAX or Jacksonville has an official sponsor. Can a city have an official sponsor? And if not, can I just say New Jax Witty is the official sponsor?

Imagine what our mayor (and I know hardly anything about him) would do in order to get Amazon's HQ2 here. Would he officially rename the city Amazon? Probably. Would he at least name a part of the city after Amazon, like Amazon Landing? You bet. Can the mayor do that? I don't know. But I think any town that wants Amazon is willing to do just about anything for it. When I looked it up, many cities have offered billions of dollars in incentives, vying to make Amazon their official sponsor. But this article also isn't about Amazon. It's about whether our city does or could have an official sponsor.

I hear about the Old Boys Club here, and all cities have those, but is there one member who'd be considered the official sponsor of the whole city itself?

CSX is a Fortune Whatever company with nearly 30,000 employees, based in Jacksonville. That would put it right up there with the role of sponsorship. However, I'm not sure how many of those employees are in the area, but the importance of CSX to Jacksonville is probably enough to make it a potential official sponsor.

When you combine the University of North Florida, Florida State College at Jacksonville, and Jacksonville University, there are more college students in Jacksonville than CSX employees. You might have to add Florida Coastal Law School, Edward Waters College, University of Florida Health Science Center, and Trinity Baptist College. But there are more than 30,000 students in Jacksonville, so maybe College is the official sponsor, though Jax is certainly not a college town.

We've got around 50,000 people employed by military installations in Jacksonville. And I've met several retired military who decided to stay in the area. While I know big business and higher education are important, but based on my own observations, I'd have to say that Jacksonville's official sponsor could easily be the US Military. It might not be reflected with a downtown skyscraper, but those aren't really skyscrapers, anyhow.

If you watch television, listen to the radio, or look at billboards, you might think lawyers are the official sponsor. Or that Robert Palmer guy. But mostly lawyers. 

The Atlantic Ocean
If you take the number of people who go or want to go to the beach, I'm sure you could make an argument that the Atlantic Ocean is the official sponsor of Jacksonville, even if almost no part of the city of Jacksonville touches the ocean.

In the end, I'm sure there are plenty of Old Boys who'd like to assume the role of city boss, but I have not seen the evidence of it in Jacksonville. There's no Tom Pendergast or Boss Hogg. All of us have the chance to rise to an omnipotent position, as long as Jeff Bezos stays out of town.

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