Florida-Georgia Game Staying In Jacksonville Through At Least '23
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).