The Univ. of Florida and Univ. of Georgia football teams will "continue playing their annual game" at Jacksonville's TIAA Bank Field through '23, with an option through '25, according to Garry Smits of the FLORIDA TIMES-UNION. Beginning in '20, each school will get $1M. The fee remains $1M in '21 and increases to $1.25M in '22 and '23. Both schools had been "getting $250,000 each under the terms of the current contract." They also "split the gate, which comes to around" $3.3M per year. The two-year option "must be picked up by May 15, 2022." Both schools have been "playing in Jacksonville annually" since 1933. The only interruption in the neutral-site series was in '94 and '95, when the game was "played at the two campuses because of renovation to the stadium in preparation for the Jaguars beginning play" (FLORIDA TIMES-UNION, 10/26). In Atlanta, Chip Towers noted the two-year option to extend through '25 will "increase the guarantees" to $1.5M, "if the schools so choose" (ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION, 10/25).
DOLLARS & CENTS: In Athens, Marc Weiszer noted UGA will make about $5M more "playing in Jacksonville instead of home-and-home" in '20 and '21. UGA AD Greg McGarity said, "The financial implications are just huge. The alternative is I'd have to raise our ticket prices at home a significant amount to make up that difference in $5 million, but when you've got to sponsor 21 sports, it's basically a financial decision." McGarity said that he and UF AD Scott Stricklin "didn't get into serious discussions about playing the games home-and-home." Weiszer noted a pitch was made to UGA by a Mercedes-Benz Stadium group to "play the game in that venue as a home game" for UGA. McGarity said, "Atlanta did not submit as a neutral site" (ATHENS BANNER-HERALD, 10/26).
The NHL's decision to host the '20 Winter Classic between the Predators and Stars at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas "may offer a hint of what's to come, with warm-weather destinations like Tampa and Arizona considered strong contenders for future outdoor events," according to Chris Johnston of SPORTSNET.ca. There is a "financial component at play" when it comes to outdoor hockey games -- 33,000-plus fans attended Saturday night's Heritage Classic at Regina's Mosaic Stadium for a game between the Jets and Flames, "more than twice" what the Jets draw for a typical home game. The "on-the-ground experience remains overwhelmingly positive" at these NHL outdoor events, and the atmosphere "can't be matched" for an indoor regular-season game. As for what is next in Canada, the "biggest hurdle" is a "lack of suitable venues." It "doesn't sound like" there will be another Heritage Classic next season, but '21-22 "remains a possibility" (SPORTSNET.ca, 10/27).
NORTH OF THE BORDER: POSTMEDIA NEWS' Kristen Anderson wrote the snow in Regina on Saturday "started falling two hours before puck drop" and "didn't stop." The spectacle was "picturesque, idyllic and worth the price of admission." The players, "battling snow and gale-force winds, put on a show" (POSTMEDIA NEWS, 10/27). In Vancouver, Ed Willes writes this year's Heritage Classic "delivered something special in Regina." Willes: "The league, in fact, should be commended for bringing the outdoor game to a city and province which has meant so much to hockey" (Vancouver PROVINCE, 10/28).