Curtains Rise on Daily’s Place, the First NFL-Affiliated Amphitheater
By: Thom Chuparkoff
Some say the beauty of football lies in the buildup. Roughly 30 seconds of suspense builds between each play, only to be released by the snap of a ball.
The same can be said for the game’s venues. Cathedrals of the NFL simmer throughout the work week before erupting with the sights, sounds and aroma of Sunday tailgates.
But where some see anticipation, others see potential. With the help of Populous designers, the city of Jacksonville and Jacksonville Jaguars partnered to imagine and realize the first-ever NFL-affiliated amphitheater. Named Daily’s Place, the new 5,500-seat venue connects seamlessly to TIAA Bank Field’s south end zone and flows south toward the St. Johns River. When the hometown Tedeschi Trucks Band christens it this Memorial Day weekend, the city will celebrate the first of two openings breathing new life into its lower downtown neighborhood.
The second piece of Daily’s Place lies just behind the stage, where towering 53-foot hangar doors reveal a new covered flex field that will open in July and host Jags practices and civic events. The two venues share one roof, one stage and one purpose: to give Jacksonville residents and Jaguars players state-of-the-art entertainment, meeting and training facilities.
The label of ‘amphitheater’ is somewhat of a misnomer for Daily’s Place. Unlike the sprawling lawn seating and lackluster sightlines of most venues that go by the name, two stacked levels of seating bring Daily’s Place ticket holders closer to the action. The highest seat sits only 135 feet away from the stage.
From the performer’s point of view, a lavish back-of-house environment offers every amenity you could want, including a tour lounge and basketball court. The result is a stacked lineup of artists for the summer concert season highlighted by Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds on May 30.
Our design team envisioned Daily’s Place and TIAA Bank Field to share more than just a street. A new lower-level concourse serves both venues while offering up views of the field during concerts. Two upper-level clubs also pull double duty. The symbiotic relationship of a concert on Saturday and football game on Sunday has the potential to bring new audiences into the Jaguars family.
“We’ve found that 75 percent of the people purchasing tickets for Daily’s Place have never been to a Jaguars game,” said Chad Johnson, the Jaguars’ vice president of sales.
Covering all the open-air activity underneath is the iconic roof. A whopping 3,000 tons of exposed steel support rolling waves of fabric underneath and draw inspiration from the city’s defining bridges and rivers.
“We flipped the traditional roof on its head,” said Populous Senior Principal Scott Radecic. “How it all smoothly came together is a testament to our design team and partners on the project.”
I saw it firsthand as Populous’ project manager for Daily’s Place. The result of all that collaboration flickers on for the first time this holiday weekend, a mere 235 days after the first structural pile was drilled.
TIAA Bank Field, also designed by Populous and opened in 1995, replaced a 66-year-old Gator Bowl Stadium and coincided with the city landing an NFL expansion franchise. More than two decades later, the Daily’s Place Amphitheater and Flex Field duo act as a natural extension and represent the latest surge in downtown Jacksonville’s revival. Here’s to all the anticipation that’s still to come.