Jaguars sponsor sues to have name pulled from Sunday's 'clown game' finale

By Steve Patterson

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The title sponsor for the Jaguars' season finale against the Indianapolis Colts is suing to get its name removed over fans' planning to dress as clowns to protest the abysmal season.

RoofClaim.com, a roofing business, wants to avoid its name "being emphasized as the primary sponsor of the clown game," says a complaint filed Thursday evening in Jacksonville's Circuit Court.

The company signed a $600,000-per-year sponsorship deal in August that guaranteed to spotlight them during a single game this season, but the suit argues the Jaguars breached terms of the agreement.

The team "has utterly failed to provide the sponsorship benefits outlined in the agreement," attorney Jeremy Paul argues in the lawsuit, saying elsewhere that it breached the deal "by exposing RoofClaim.com's brand to a toxic marketing environment that will cause irreparable harm."

The company told the Jaguars Dec. 16 — the day Urban Meyer was fired as head coach — that it wanted to end the sponsorship, but the team "insisted that the partnership continue," the suit says.

The company had already paid $300,000 and doesn't owe any more right now, the suit says. The agreement, attached to the lawsuit, shows the deal was planned to last for four years, with the annual price rising to $655,636.

The lawsuit asks a judge to bar the Jaguars from using RoofClaim's brand, end the agreement and award whatever damages are appropriate.

Jaguars President Mark Lamping didn't respond Friday afternoon to a cellphone message asking about the suit. He answered a follow-up call and said he hadn't received that message. When a reporter began explaining his reason for calling, Lamping restated that he would review the message and be in touch.

A Jaguars spokesperson emailed a response later in the day saying: "We are in receipt of the complaint filed by RoofClaim. It is baseless and without merit, and contradictory to the very terms RoofClaim negotiated in its sponsorship agreement earlier this year. We will exhaustively protect our interests in this matter at every turn."

The Jaguars have won just two games this season and are a target for fan scorn that conflicts vastly with the high hopes that surrounded the season's beginning.

RoofClaim.com, a Georgia-based firm with operations across the Southeast and into Ohio, displays on its website sports sponsorships including Louisiana State University athletics and the Boca Raton Bowl, a college football matchup played Dec. 18. The company had promoted its partnership with the Jaguars during the fall, but no longer does so.


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