By Bob McFaul

Summary: Protecting the sparkle of team jerseys as well as extensive water-using equipment used for showers, sauna, laundry and food preparation is a major job considering the wear and tear—not to mention appetites—of professional athletes. Here’s a case where a dealer tackled the challenge.

Municipal water hardness in Jacksonville, Fla., ranges from 15 to 18 grains per gallon with total dissolved solids (TDS) between 300 and 350 parts per million (ppm). The hard water was damaging the appearance and the durability of the Jacksonville Jaguars’ teal-colored uniforms. The fine china and glassware in the executive dining room was also showing the corrosive effects of the high TDS in the water, which was adversely affecting the flavor of the coffee and other beverages. The facilities director needed to address these costly problems. The solution came in the form of his local water treatment consultant. After addressing similar problems in the director’s home, it was decided to apply the same “fix” to the problems at the stadium, but on a National Football League scale.

Keeping ’em happy
Alltel Stadium, home of the Jaguars, houses the laundry and dining facilities for the organization’s players and executives. Completed in 1995, the stadium seats 73,000 fans. It was just four days prior to the start of training camp in 1998 when Jacksonville-area water treatment dealer A & B Marketing was brought in to solve the water quality problem.

Softening solutions
They installed a duplex 24-inch × 72-inch automatic unit with two softeners and one brine tank in the on-premise laundry to return the brightness to the team’s faded looking uniforms, plus cut detergent use and associated costs. The duplex parallel is on an electronic meter so that regeneration is programmed only during off-hours. Secondly, in the off season, when not as many people are making demands on the system, the electronic meter gauges the inconsistency for irregular usage. A single 24-inch × 72-inch automatic softener was installed in the players’ dining area to reduce hard water spots and stains on the kitchenware. The water softener saves clean-up time and cut service calls on the warewasher and other water-using food service equipment. This resulted in cost savings as well. For example, two out of three service calls on ice machines are water related—yet, with proper water treatment, this expense has been virtually eliminated.

RO fixes
Four separate point-of-use (POU) reverse osmosis (RO) systems were chosen for individual applications throughout the facility. The initial unit is an 800-gallon per day (gpd) RO system that directly feeds the players’ Gatorade machine. In the past, bottled water was used to mix with the powdered Gatorade, which was both costly and problematic in terms of physical storage space. In the coaches’ dining room, a 400-gallon per day RO system now provides quality water for all of their beverages as well as the ice machine and steam tables. The corrosive effect of the high TDS water has been eliminated by the system installed in the executive dining room, increasing the life of the stemware and china, and helping them to retain their sparkle. Finally, the owner’s luxury box suite was outfitted with a 10-gpd RO system improving the water quality for the owner and his guests. The product water for these RO installations is typically 12 to 15 ppm, or less than one grain per gallon (gpg)—1 gpg equals 17.1 ppm.

In the three years since the installations of the softening and RO systems, the distributor’s maintenance program has kept the systems operating without unusual additional service expenses. So, now, everyone can sit back and enjoy the game!

The author wishes to thank Michael Keck, owner of A & B Marketing Inc., for his assistance on this article.

About the author
Bob McFaul is national accounts manager of the Commercial Division of Rainsoft. McFaul is responsible for growing national commercial accounts in addition to assisting dealers with developing their own accounts for RainSoft Water Treatment Systems, a Division of Aquion Partners. Both are based in Elk Grove Village, Ill. RainSoft is an industry leader in the manufacture and marketing of residential and commercial water treatment systems. Its’ products are sold and serviced by more than 500 independent dealers in 25 countries. McFaul recently joined RainSoft after being in the commercial industry for the past 35 years, developing business relationships with major clients such as McDonald’s, Barnes & Noble and Cracker Barrel, to name a few. He can be reached at (800) 642-3426, (847) 758-5965 (fax), or email: [email protected].

FYI—Jaguars Juggernaut
Here’s a bit of history on the NFL’s Jacksonville franchise:

Sept. 16, 1991—Backed by a $60-million commitment from the Jacksonville City Council to renovate the Gator Bowl, “Touchdown Jacksonville!” Ltd. files expansion application with the NFL.

March 17, 1992—Jacksonville survives first round of cuts, when a list of 11 cities vying for an expansion team is reduced to seven. Two months later, this is cut to five. After a tour of the Gator Bowl by NFL officials, city withdraws application when told additional renovations beyond those planned are required. A month after talks break off, a new plan emerges where city agrees to ante up $53 million and the team and related sources offer $68 million for renovations for a new $121 million stadium.

Nov. 30, 1993—After a four-year campaign, league commissioner Paul Tagliabue announces Jacksonville wins approval to host the NFL’s 30th franchise team.

July 29, 1995—Jaguars play first game in Canton, Ohio, in annual Hall of Fame Game. They’re defeated by the other NFL expansion team—the Carolina Panthers—20-14.

Aug. 18, 1995—Jacksonville becomes first team in expansion history to open the season in its own stadium. Jaguars finish the season 4-12, one win better than NFL’s previous best for an expansion team.

April 18, 1997—Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is re-named Alltel Stadium after Little Rock, Ark.-based wireless telecommunications and information services company.

The Jaguars quickly become a dominant team in the NFL and perennial playoff participant. It reached the AFC Championship game in 1996 and 1999. Under current coach Tom Coughlin, it’s 54-40 in regular season play, 4-4 in the postseason and won the AFC title in 1998 and 1999.


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