Jacksonville  WFL

Express  - 1975
(Authentic Reproduction)

On July 11, 1974 the Jacksonville Sharks opened their season impressively. A packed Gator Bowl in Jacksonville played host to America as the opening week of the World Football League season beamed its first televised game in front of a loud, enthusiastic, and supportive gaggle of fans. 59,112 Gator Bowl fans and what was described as “a national TV audience” saw the Sharks defeat the New York Stars and everyone connected to the WFL had stars in their eyes, at least for the first few weeks of the season. It was after the next two home games with announced attendance figures of 46,780 against the Sun and 43,869 for the Hawaii game that it was revealed that the Sharks and specifically owner Fran Monaco had “papered the house” with free tickets, many used as part of a supermarket give-away and that the actual paid attendance was actually averaging 9000 to 13,000 per game. The fans however were extremely enthusiastic, whether or not they had actually paid to attend and Jacksonville was still viewed as a viable professional football area by the New League WFL. As the Sharks had closed shop and folded with six games remaining on the 1974 schedule, it was not going to be an easy sell to a new ownership group but there was enough civic pride and optimism to give the WFL one more fling in 1975.  MORE...  

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