SBD/Issue 129/Collegiate Sports

Evans Denies Discussions Around Atlanta Hosting Florida-Georgia

Evans Says No Ongoing Dialogue About Hosting
Game In Atlanta Despite ASC Interest
Univ. of Georgia AD Damon Evans Friday said that there are "no discussions about trying to bring the Georgia-Florida football game to the Georgia Dome," according to Leon Stafford of the ATLANTA CONSTITUTION. Evans said while Atlanta Sports Council (ASC) President Gary Stokan has "expressed interest in and approached" Georgia about moving the game to Atlanta, there are "no talks going on." Evans: "That's the extent of it. I wouldn't call it talks. ... They just broached the subject to us, as they have before. But there's not any ongoing dialogue going on about it right now." Stokan said that the ASC "wants to have the game played in Atlanta for at least one of the four years in an upcoming new contract between the schools." Stokan: "We're not asking to move half the games or all of the games to Atlanta. We respect tradition. We're just looking for one of the four." Stafford noted one factor that "could work against the Dome in negotiations is the facility's smaller size," as it seats "about 72,000 fans versus 82,000" for Jacksonville Municipal Stadium (ATLANTA CONSTITUTION, 3/21). While the teams "could not sell as many tickets for the game in Atlanta," Stokan said that the ASC "would more than make up the difference in income from lost ticket sales to the schools." Stokan: "We think we can be very, very competitive in any bid that we put forward. Whatever the financial differences, we feel like we can make up the difference." In Jacksonville, Lee Shearer noted the schools' contract with Jacksonville officials "expires after next year" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 3/21).

DEFENSIVE STAND: Jacksonville Economic Development Commission Manager of Sports & Entertainment Michael Bouda said that Atlanta's bid is "nothing new," as "every time the game's contract comes up, another city shows interest." Bouda: "Anybody that could have this game, it would be a huge coup for them. We're going to do everything in our power to be sure that doesn't happen" (FIRSTCOASTNEWS.com, 3/21). Evans said that he "continues 'to evaluate the total picture' and that Georgia would 'do at the end of the day what we think is best for us.'" Evans added that Jacksonville officials "would probably like to have a new contract completed already," and that he "would like to make a decision with one year remaining on the existing contract." Former Georgia AD Vince Dooley said that "once the current contract is up, Georgia would not need to consult with Florida to play the game elsewhere if it chose." Dooley said that the "economics would have to work for such a change to take place." But Dooley added, "As far as the logic of alternating, it makes sense" (ATLANTA BUSINESS CHRONICLE, 3/20 issue).

Writer Says Moving Game To Atlanta Once
Every Four Years Wouldn't Destroy Tradition
REAX: In Athens, Jim Thompson wrote, "We're only talking about once every four years here. Sure, it's enough to put a ding in the tradition of having the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville, but it's not enough to destroy that tradition" (ATHENS BANNER-HERALD, 3/22). But in Orlando, Jeremy Fowler wrote, "Consider how the move would seriously tarnish the 'World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party' theme. A short jog from Jacksonville Municipal Stadium is the Landings, a huge party hub full of bars by the riverfront. Perfect pre-game atmosphere for a perfect game. Now let you mind travel to Atlanta's Georgia Dome, which is right by ... the CNN Center? Nothing spells party like corporate America and McCormick & Schmick's seafood restaurant" (ORLANDOSENTINEL.com, 3/22). In Savannah, Adam Van Brimmer wrote of the game, "Take it to the schools' campuses instead." The SEC is "too competitive to give up the home-field advantage for a game against any conference foe, let alone a division rival" (SAVANNAH MORNING NEWS, 3/22).

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