Jacksonville, FL (WJBF) – Jacksonville scores again as a result of a recent agreement to keep one of our nation’s biggest football rivalry games in town. Since 1933, the City of Jacksonville and EverBank Field have been the home of the University of Georgia-University of Florida football game. That tradition will continue through 2021, as both schools have reached an agreement with the City on a five-year extension.
“We could not be more excited about our continued partnership with two of the nation’s finest universities,” said Mayor Lenny Curry. “Our new agreement further strengthens the Georgia-Florida tradition we have enjoyed here in Jacksonville for 83 years. The legendary rivalry continues and the best is yet to come.”
The long-running rivalry is one of the highlights of the year in Jacksonville featuring a sellout crowd of more than 83,000 filling every seat at EverBank Field. The economic impact to Jacksonville for the game in 2015 was $35 million, with more than 5 million fans watching the broadcast on CBS.
“We are excited to continue the tradition of playing the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville,” said University of Florida Director of Athletics Jeremy Foley. “As I’ve said a number of times over the years, the game belongs in Jacksonville. Thanks to the hard work and cooperation from the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jaguars and our counterparts at Georgia, it will continue to be in Jacksonville.”
The game is the centerpiece of a weekend of events around Jacksonville. The afternoon before the game, legendary stars that shined in the series are honored in the annual Georgia-Florida Luncheon and Hall of Fame Ceremony. Over the last five years, a new tradition has dawned with a concert in the Sports Complex featuring stars such as Florida-Georgia Line, The Band Perry and the Zac Brown Band.
“The home of the Georgia-Florida game since 1933 has been Jacksonville and we are delighted to extend that tradition for five more years,” said University of Georgia Director of Athletics Greg McGarity. “We are extremely appreciative of the efforts of the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jaguars and the University of Florida for their cooperation in extending this agreement.
“The enhancements in and around EverBank Field will be dynamic, and we are confident our fan experience will be enhanced over the coming years. From a financial standpoint, this game generates significant resources to each institution on an annual basis. This consistent revenue stream is a critical component to our financial model annually.”
The game often decides who will represent the SEC East in the SEC Championship game. In the 24 SEC Championship games, the two schools have played for the title 16 times, with the winner of the game advancing 13 times.
“The Georgia-Florida game continues to be an incredible asset for EverBank Field and the Jacksonville Jaguars,” said Mark Lamping, president and CEO, Jacksonville Jaguars. “The partnership that we have with the University of Florida, the University of Georgia, and the City of Jacksonville proves that our community is the right home for this very special rivalry.”
The new agreement will need approval by the Jacksonville City Council.