Georgia, Florida mull momentary websites for competition
Oct 29, 2023, 12:49 PM ET JACKSONVILLE, Fla.– Do not expect Georgia and Florida to play their yearly competition game on school sites anytime soon, if ever again.The SEC heavyweights are exploring alternatives to hold the game often described “The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” at other neutral-site venues throughout the two years that Jacksonville is expecting a$2 billion renovation to EverBank Stadium and the surrounding area.Although they have not totally ruled out playing a home-and-home series in 2026 and 2027, administrators are concentrated on letting cities with NFL-ready stadiums quote on the game, according to two individuals knowledgeable about the planning. The people talked to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the process hasn’t been formalized or finalized.The next move is contingent on Jacksonville’s city board authorizing plans for a stadium overhaul that
also would force the Jacksonville Jaguars to play home games in front of a reduced capacity (approximately 40,000) in 2026 and elsewhere in 2027. Georgia and Florida, on the other hand, would play outside Jacksonville for the very first time in more than 3 decades.Editor’s Picks In 2026, with Georgia arranged to be the home group, the game likely would land at Mercedes-Benz Arena in Atlanta, with a 50-50 ticket split as typical. The following year, with Florida as the home group, it could end up at Outdoor camping World Stadium in Orlando, Raymond James Stadium in Tampa or Hard Rock Arena in Miami.The factor
is basic: The schools can make more money playing the game at neutral-site locations like EverBank. The schools have played every year in Jacksonville considering that 1933, with a two-year hiatus while the Gator Bowl was being remodelled before the Jaguars’ inaugural season. The game relocated to Gainesville in 1994 and Athens, Georgia, the following year.Bulldogs coach
Kirby Smart has actually been outspoken about wanting to move the game back to schools for recruiting functions; NCAA rules restrict coaches from having contact with recruits at neutral websites, although the home group can leave tickets for them.But Smart
would choose in person contact, something he might get if the game was played in Athens.
“I firmly believe that we’ll be able to sign much better players by having it as a home-and-home since we’ll have more opportunities to get them to campus,” Smart said last season.Smart withdrawed his remarks previously this week.”I don’t really consider it
anymore, “he stated.”We are where we are. That really has not crossed my mind besides the offseason when I get inquired about it. A lot more concerned with how we play than where we play.”Florida coach Billy Napier has actually fasted to mention
that”the underlying problem here is the economics.” The payout from Jacksonville is approximately$ 3 million for each school in 2023, a figure that includes$1.25 million guaranteed plus a split of ticket profits and concession sales. The guaranteed payout for each school increases to$1.5 million in 2024 and 2025, the last 2 years of the present contract.Georgia likewise receives $350,000 yearly to cover its charter flights, buses and lodging, while Florida receives
$60,000 since no flights are required.A Florida home game, by contrast, generates in between$ 2 million and $5 million depending upon the opponent.
So a home-and-home series would bring in less profits over a two-year span than a neutral-site game.