Hardballing Jacksonville

As someone who’s maintained for a while that it’s money, not tradition, keeping the Cocktail Party in Jacksonville, this piece from Gene Frenette doesn’t surprise me.

But an equally big story in the next month — with huge future economic implications for Jacksonville and those committed to preserving the game’s rich history — will take place away from the TV cameras and behind closed doors: renegotiating a Georgia-Florida contract that expires after the 2016 game.

While these negotiations are often viewed as a foregone conclusion — Jacksonville has been the series host since 1933 (except 1994-95 when the stadium was rebuilt to accommodate the NFL expansion Jaguars) — it’s possible things could get a little dicey this time around.

Both universities and the city of Jacksonville aren’t prepared yet to start negotiations because they’re waiting to see the Jaguars’ plans for renovations to the EverBank club seat areas in the east and west stands, a place normally reserved for the wealthiest boosters of each school.

Those renovations are expected to reduce the club seat capacity for Jaguars games in 2016 from 11,000 to about 8,000, which team president Mark Lamping said will improve the game-day experience and be a more appropriate number for the city’s NFL market size.

But as it pertains to the Georgia-Florida game, two possible sticking points for the schools must be ironed out. The first is replacing an estimated 3,000 club seats so that stadium capacity for the SEC showdown is back up to 82,917, as mandated in the contract. Another issue is how those temporary replacement seats, both in terms of comfort and aesthetic feel of the surroundings, will be received by the school’s top-level donors.

The city seems imbued with the belief that everyone wants the game to stay in Jacksonville, with the attendant consideration that there will be give and take from the schools about that, but I’m not so sure in this day and age that’ll be enough.  Take this comment from McGarity:

Mousa hinted that everything is negotiable, that maybe Georgia and Florida would be willing to accept extra compensation — beyond the $3 million each receive for playing the game in Jacksonville — in lieu of losing some club seats.

But McGarity shot down that idea in an email, writing: “Priority number one is number of seats (being 82,917), no doubt about that. If we wanted more revenue, we would simply raise ticket prices.”

Maybe that’s just holding your ground early in negotiations, but if you’re the city, you probably wince seeing stuff like that being made public.

This probably makes you wince, too.

One of those venues is Mercedes-Benz Stadium, which will replace the Georgia Dome as the Atlanta Falcons’ home field in 2017. With a seating capacity of 75,000, and the potential to expand to 83,000, the $1.2 billion stadium has already sent a message to the college football world that it intends to be a major player for sporting events.

McGarity said maintaining the Georgia-Florida game tradition in Jacksonville is important, but he acknowledges the new Atlanta venue — along with AT&T Stadium in Dallas and a newly renovated Citrus Bowl in Orlando — cannot be ignored as potential competition down the road for any neutral-site game.

“There are newer and more modern options available now that are in play (to attract neutral-site games),” McGarity said. “They’re business people, too.”

How much is there to squeeze out of the city?  We’re going to find out.

128 Comments

Filed under Gators Gators, Georgia Football, It's Just Bidness

128 responses to “Hardballing Jacksonville

  1. Bright Idea

    Play hardball in negotiations but either keep the game in Jax or go home and home. It would never be the same vibe in Orlando or Atlanta. Tickets to a checkers match in Blanks new stadium gonna be astronomical.

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    • At least It Is still called the Georgia / Florida Game despite Harmon Wages efforts to reverse it,
      . I earlier attended 39 Ga.-Fla. games Bot never a Fla./Ga. Game.

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  2. Bulldog Joe

    Sanford Stadium’s capacity is 92,746.
    Ben Hill Griffin’s stadium capacity is 88,548.

    Jus’ sayin’.

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    • Mayor

      This is an excellent point, BJ. Probably the most cogent point made on this thread. If the game rotated between Gainesville and Athens roughly 10,000 more Georgia fans and 6,000 more FU fans would see their team play every other year than the existing arrangement. Since when do the fans matter, though? It’s always been about the dinero, and the quicker one understands that, the quicker one understands why things are the way they are with this game. To paraphrase Bill Clinton: “It’s about the money, stupid.”

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      • Bobby Fenton

        But keeping it in Jacksonville favors the fans, not the other way around. It’s one of the best spectacles in college football, and the game shouldn’t be played anywhere else. I have attended numerous Florida-Georgia games in Jax, and ticket availability has never been an issue. It’s a great setup.

        And lest you think “it’s all about money”, you’re right, except the two schools make more money by splitting the proceeds of the Jax game every single year than they would by keeping the home game revenue to themselves once every two years.

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        • Macallanlover

          It certainly does favor the fans, the small number of 4000 more total fans in capacity is dwarfed by the uniqueness of the event versus just another home-and-home rivalry game, and the number of fans who make it a 4-5 day total immersion in the game’s atmosphere. I know people who go to Sea Island area for several days and never attend the game, that doesn’t happen in either Athens or Gainesville.

          Even if the game in JAX was financially neutral, or a slight loss, it should be not be tampered with. That is especially true when in the hands of McFrugal who seems incompetent at every single thing he has done since returning to Athens.

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        • B-UGA

          Schools themselves may make more money on paper but think about the revenue a home game brings to the city of Athens & the school….especially a game like Florida. I think the fans & the city get far more out of having it home & home. At least alternate the states that the so called neutral game is played so that the state of Georgia can at least benefit from the revenue & business it will bring the state every other year. Right now all those Florida businesses just sop up Florida & Georgia fan’s money every year.

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  3. PTC DAWG

    Have the Golden Isles weighed in yet?

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  4. @gatriguy

    Home and home. It’s past time. But that’s just my humble opinion.

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  5. 3rdandGrantham

    I’ve been wanting UGA to pull out of Jax ever since it became clearly evident to me that 90%+ of the businesses in the area are unabashed UF fans, in which these businesses are reaping huge benefits from the game. When you see hotel managers, restaurant owners, etc wearing neutral UGa/UF buttons/hats/beads before the same…only to be suddenly be replaced by all orange/blue afterwards while doing the gator chop with the UF fans, you know you’re being hoodwinked yearly.

    Besides, JAX is a rather dumpy city without a lot to do in the area.

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    • @gatriguy

      +1,000 Plus, Jax is a total shithole.

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    • Argondawg

      It is only neutral for the fans and seating. The Gator players can sleep in their own beds and get up and take a little over an hour bus ride to the stadium. We have to move everything down to Jax. Go home and home or move it to the new dome. After 30 years I am tired of giving the state of Florida my money. That is why we only go every other year now and I am not thrilled with that. It is a pain in the ass.

      It also doesn’t help to pay a couple of thousand dollars to get the shit kicked out of us most years. It has not been a good 20 years in JAX.

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      • Dog in Fla

        “take a little over an hour bus ride to the stadium”

        a/k/a the Hogtown to Duval County State Penitentiary Route.

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      • Macallanlover

        Don’t let facts interfere with your comment, UGA doesn’t sleep in their own beds the night before a home game anyway, always in a hotel whether itis home or away. I don’t know care about FU’s protocol before this game but based on their players’ behavior, I would bet McElwain keeps them under lock and key as well.

        And please, don’t anyone even discuss the wear and tear of a 30 minutes flight versus an hour and a half bus ride on 18-22 year old bodies. Again, unless you own a motel or restaurant/bar in Athens, there is no disadvantage to UGA.

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        • I thought we quit staying at Chateau Elan before home games?

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          • Macallanlover

            Don’t know about location anymore but I heard we still stayed away from local residences on the nigh before. If that is wrong, I apologize for the erroneous info. And I would prefer we still do for obvious reasons.

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    • JAX

      “Besides, JAX is a rather dumpy city without a lot to do in the area.”

      “Without a lot to do”……..like go to Ponte Vedra Beach, play golf in some of the country’s best courses, shop/dine in San Marco, Riverside/Avondale, or Atlantic Beach, drive a little south to St. Augustine and spend the day (ever been to Cap’s?). The list is exhaustive if you would take the time to think.

      I don’t mean to be overly defensive, but some of these anti-Jacksonville comments are just incredibly stupid.

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      • sniffer

        I’m with you, Jax. I avoid the parts of town that are, well, not nice.

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      • 3rdandGrantham

        Funny…you’re referring to places that aren’t even in Jax. I’m talking strictly about Jacksonville…not St Aug, Tampa, The Keys, etc.

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        • Bulldog Joe

          San Marco and Riverside/Avondale are in Jacksonville and have a few good low-key places to eat. Both Athens and Gainesville have these types of places, too.

          The other destinations are difficult to get to/from after the game if you are staying north of the city.

          You pretty much have to rent there for a few days to make it worthwhile.

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  6. @gatriguy

    Before I get crucified in this, let me point out I grew up in Savannah. This was essentially our “home” game and we went every year. I still think it’s time to go home and home.

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  7. Bright Idea

    Jax is indeed a dump but South Ga. and the Ga. coast benefit as much from this game as Jax. Parking is where fans are getting killed playing in Jax. The Georgia lot (D I think) is controlled by the Jax. Bulldog Club and it is a closed shop. Their locals are grabbing 4-5 spaces each leaving nothing for the rest of us. As I get older home and home becomes more appealing.

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    • Coastal Dawg

      Sorry, BI but the local Jax club does not have any control over D LOT. UGA gets those tickets and they go to the season ticket holders. We used to get them and sold them for $35 along with BBQ lunch and a pass to the Pep Rally at the park. Now we have to buy tickets from SMG Sports just like everyone else.

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      • Chi town Dawg

        Coastal Dawg is correct. The UGA Athletic Dept gives them out to high end donors as part of the annual fund contribution much like they do in Athens. Anyone contributing $5,000 of more gets 1 complimentary pass and over $10,000 you get 2 complimentary passes to lot D. I’m not sure how many spots exist, but they probably have a few leftover that are handed out on a discretionary basis.

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  8. The only real tradition in college football is the tradition of doing whatever it takes to make more money. Schedules be damned, academics be damned, rivalries be damned. There is nothing that a serious football administration will not scrap in the name of more revenue.

    I like McGarity’s answer: We have our own ways of making more revenue. Our priority is to keep our boosters happy by getting them into comfy seats at the game. As long as they keep getting the same number of club seats, I can raise the prices whenever I want to make more money. To paraphrase, More is Never Enough.

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  9. Dog in Fla

    “a newly renovated Citrus Bowl in Orlando”

    Sure it’s newly renovated, it’s nice but the parking is still somewhere between horrible and nonexistent

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  10. Napoleon BonerFart

    Playing GA/FLA in Dallas? Seriously?

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  11. Will Trane

    Home and Home.
    Put the money in Athens and Georgia.
    Why every year in Florida.
    5-9

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  12. Go Dawgs!

    I want Georgia-Florida to stay in Jacksonville. I love the tradition, I enjoy the trip, and I love the Cocktail Party. Jacksonville’s a bit of a hole compared to other beach destinations, and when compared to other cities, but I still look forward to it each and every year.

    With that said, I’ll be mildly surprised to see this game continue in Jacksonville annually into the 2020’s. It just seems like the city and the schools are moving in opposite directions. The desire to downgrade the stadium to put it more in line with the smaller capacity needs of the Jaguars is diametrically opposed to the needs of UGA and UF to accommodate as many season ticket holders as possible. Squeezing out 3,000 fans is not an option (especially when they’re the highest priced fans). The game already squeezes out at least 40,000 fans of each school who could attend home-and-home and the fact that there’s a large contingent of Georgia fans who blame the lopsided nature of the series’ recent history on location and you’ve got some big hurdles for Jacksonville to clear in order to keep us there.

    I agree with Bright Idea above, though. If we’re leaving JAX, going home-and-home is the only option. Atlanta would be such a snooze for this game. And no other city/stadium will do it justice. Just put it between the hedges and in the swamp.

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    • Otto

      Agreed I want to keep it in Jacksonville. Nobody stays in Jax, and the weekend at the beach is nice. Travel time is a moot point with UGA flying and UF taking the bus. The atmosphere is like no other and I have been UGA’s rivals at home, and away, in addition to the Iron Bowl and other nonUGA games. Further I firmly believe moving the game home/home will not give UGA any advantage. I expect the game to move from Jax in this false hope.

      Atlanta would be a bore. Tampa could be a possible but it would never get serious discussion.

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      • Will (The Other One)

        Atlanta would be a nice switch from the standpoint of the Dawgs taking a bus in day of if they feel like it, but the Gators having to fly (plus far more UGA fans than Gator fans in the metro area.)
        I’d prefer home and home if there’s no more JAX, but a good 10 year contract with the Stankonia Dome could be great (especially if the Dawgs get a good win streak going and Gator fans start complaining about the game being in GA every year.)

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  13. paul

    In regards to home and home. I’ve never been to Ben Hill, but the stadium experience in Athens, despite all sorts of protestations to the contrary, remains pretty much the same except for incessantly loud and obnoxious music. The restrooms rival only a truck stop and concessions remain unbearably slow. Getting in, out and around is problematic to say the least. We tailgated off campus so I cannot speak to that. I’d been feeling somewhat ambivalent about letting our season tickets go until I attended the Missouri game. I’m now happier than ever I’m no longer spending that money. So a home and home is of completely no interest whatsoever. A destination game might be interesting. But not in Texas.

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    • Bulldog Joe

      Gate 10 is a short three-block walk from the North Avenue station and a round trip MARTA ticket is $5 with free parking at most locations.

      If it’s convenience you want, good seats are still available.

      http://ev9.evenue.net/cgi-bin/ncommerce3/SEGetEventInfo?linkID=gatech&ticketCode=GS:IBM:F15:F06:&groupCode=FS-SINGLE&shopperContext=&pc=&caller=&appCode=&cgc=&prc=&ppc=&psc=&sm=1

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      • Dog in Fla

        Will there be Cokes?

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        • Bulldog Joe

          Yep. Get ’em fast, too.

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          • Macallanlover

            Actually, that was the number one complaint (in reverse) that Spurrier faced when he accepted the FU job, Said he faced it at every stop he made when he first met when meeting boosters and fans. They said “we have to move that game to a home and home, we cannot beat them in Jacksonville.” To me, moving it or alternating it, to any other location is not an option. You have something special and unique, you cannot tamper with it or flip a switch to turn it on or off.

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            • @gatriguy

              Do you know what Spurrier’s response to that was? “If we played Georgia every year in Atlanta in a stadium called the Bulldog Bowl, we’d probably think it was more of a home game for them.”

              So you might think the games location is irrelevant, but the man that flipped the series didn’t. Interesting.

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              • Macallanlover

                Sort of, what he actually said was “Last time I looked Jacksonville was located in the state of Florida and there is no excuse to concede that the game is any advantage to them. We just need to step our game up and stop believing what the fans are saying about “we cannot win there”. They will have to convince me that we can’t win in that stadium.”

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      • paul

        My point being that Sanford is long overdue for some serious remodeling work itself in my humble opinion. I love the university and I love Athens. I’m an alum. As is my wife, our son and his wife. Other than the luxury suites though, the athletic department has done very, very little to enhance the stadium experience in the past, what, twenty years? Longer, actually. It’s not a significantly different place than it was in 1980 when I finished school. We’re folks who have contributed tens of thousands of dollars to the Hartman fund and spent additional thousands upon thousands of dollars tailgating. We love our Bulldogs and we love Saturdays in Athens. But at this point, we’d rather stay home or simply buy the occasional ticket off Stub Hub or from a friend because the stadium itself is such a hassle. And we know a lot of people like ourselves. Better wifi is nice, but it’s not going to get alumni like ourselves back in the seats on a regular basis. The solution is simple, but for some reason nothing much seems to change.

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        • Bulldog Joe

          What improvements would bring you back?

          We get a parking pass in one of the nearby decks and tailgate with our extended family and friends every game. No one at the university or city hassles us as long as we don’t try to set up a tailgate between Lumpkin and Jackson streets more than five hours before game time.

          If we want to start our tailgate earlier we just set up outside that boundary. No big deal. After the game, we go up North Avenue to the loop and are on our way home within a half-hour.

          We also eat before the game as we would like to see the university break the stranglehold ARAMark has on concessions and provide more competition, quality, and variety. Unfortunately, they have a current setup similar what to the Atlanta airport had 20 years ago. The university can also build more restrooms on south side lower level near gate 6, similar to the Reed Plaza area. It doesn’t make sense to dig under Field Street, relocate the underground utilities, or disrupt the footings for the upper deck and skyboxes. They have to work with what the site offers.

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          • paul

            Tailgating isn’t the issue. I’ve never had problems there. Neither is parking. I’m talking about the stadium itself. What do I want? Clean restrooms. More restrooms. Concessions that don’t require me to miss an entire quarter of the game if I visit them. Concessions run be people who know how to get food or merchandise, use a cash register, make change and do so quickly and efficiently. Food that is actually appetizing. Better flow into, out of and around the stadium. These things are all fairly easy to do. Every time someone does a study these same issues come up over and over and over. Yet nothing changes. Meanwhile, the coffers are overflowing with cash. Money isn’t the issue. The problem is a disregard for the customer. I know for a fact someone snapped up our tickets when we stopped ordering them. As long as that’s true, we will never get clean restrooms, more restrooms, better food or better service because the athletic department knows they don’t have to do those things to keep the seats filled. Never mind that year in and year out people keep saying over and over and over that such things are important to them and would significantly improve the stadium experience.

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            • Macallanlover

              Good comments. I have been on the “pick and choose” train for many years and never regretted it. An occasional dip in the nostalgia pool is enough for me, the conditions you describe are a major part of the hassle but the biggest thing to me is what all I miss on game days at home. I like my setup, my freedom, my food/drink/comfort.

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    • B-UGA

      Welcome to Sanford Stadium! It’s probably not the venue for an over 50 Georgia Fan with all that loud music & yelling and such nonsense. The couch at home is probably the best place for all these comforts you speak of. If you have season tickets, please pass them on to someone who enjoys the experience of Sanford Stadium….The Home of The University of Georgia Bulldogs. No matter how crappy it is, it’s still ours, it a Home game & I’d much rather give my money to local businesses in Athens (where the University is located) than anywhere in the wonderful city of Jacksonville, FL.
      Big money St. Simons it’s been a good run for ya’ll, but it’s time for home/home for the better of Bulldog Nation.

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  14. tbia

    The funny thing is gonna be when Jville screws the pooch on Ga/FL to appease the Jags, and then Chaka Khan takes his team to London to be the NFLs first European entry.

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  15. Bulldog Joe

    Jacksonville = Columbus with a beach.

    Moved out of Columbus to the campuses in 1958 and never looked back.

    It’s time.

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    • JAX

      Jeeesh. Some people really have no clue.

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    • Mayor

      BJ, some on this blog probably don’t understand what you are talking about. Permit me the opportunity to explain: From 1916 through 1958 (that’s 43 years peeps) Georgia played Auburn in Columbus. Then that site stopped being used and that game became home and away and has been just fine played that way ever since.

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  16. GaskillDawg

    I can foresee how it will work for me. Although I have a Hartman Fund score in excess of $27,000, I am not at the level to get Club Seating. With the reduced Club Seating I will be pushed into the “enhanced temporary seating,” whatever the hell that is.

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  17. Bobby Bowden Syndrome

    We don’t play home – home because McGarity shares the 3Million to play in Jax , 50/50 with the city of Athens each year. No?

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  18. ApalachDawg

    Let your hearts be not troubled
    The game will stay in Jax
    Jax knows the jags are headed to the land of fish and chips
    Let the negotiations begin

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  19. Athens Dog

    After 34 trips and three straight wins, I decided last year not to go to the game. Turned out to be a great decision. I still go to St. Simons for golf and fun. But Jax traffic makes getting home before midnight almost impossible.

    But i’m guessing it stays right where it is………..

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  20. Chickamona

    Another factor not being mentioned is that now, because of moving the Auburn game rotation to being even years in Athens, we have an issue where every even year’s home schedule has Tech, Auburn and Tennessee while odd years will be anchored by . . . South Carolina and Missouri. Fine, challenging teams but not exactly games that always drive the same excitement as playing our other rivals (I’ll accept in recent years S.C. was a big game). Without a Bama or LSU from the west, there could be some pretty lean odd-year home schedules. For example, 2017 welcomes ancient rival Mississippi State to Athens. Florida being an odd-year home game (if McGarity could swing that) would certainly help balance that. Just saying.

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    • DawgPhan

      My solution is to move the tech game to the new Dome in 2017, then play @ tech the next year. So Tech would give up the 2017 home game, but then gets the 2018 home game.

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  21. Will Trane

    Rotate the SECCG between Atlanta, Dallas, and New Orleans.

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  22. PTC DAWG

    Keep the game in Jax…screw playing in Gainesville..ever.

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    • Sh3rl0ck

      ^This. Anyone who is arguing for the series to move to home and home either A. Has no intention of ever going to the road game or B. Has never been to Gainesville. While their campus is nice, the town of Gainesville is a shithole of biblical proportions. Basically, imagine a trailer park in Da Nang in 1968 but with mullet-headed jort-wearing swamp trash.

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      • Dog in Fla

        The Cổng Thông Tin Điện Tử Thành Phố ĐÀ NẴNG lodges a vigorous dispute and states it has never been referred to as Hogtown although there are more than a few #1 trailer parks with Vietnamese pot bellied pigs wandering around

        http://www.danang.gov.vn/portal/page/portal/danang/trang_chu

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        • Sh3rl0ck

          I didn’t mean to insult modern day Da Nang. I do maintain that Gainesville is the worst shithole in this country south of the Mason-Dixon line.

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          • Dog in Fla

            Đà Nẵng gratefully accepts but now Auburn and Starkville take issue with Gainesville winning the award

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            • illini84

              Can Tho is more like J-Ville with the mighty Bassac River!

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              • Dog in Fla

                Never had the pleasure of Cần Thơ Province in the southern parts
                but did spend some time down there in An Thoi / Phú Quốc with cruising vacays all the way up to Hải Phòng which I’m told resembles J-ville except for the Đà Nẵng-like beaches part

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            • Sh3rl0ck

              West Opelika and Starkvegas may be smaller, but this is a situation were less is more. I have never seen a 350+ lb woman in a moo-moo taking a bath in a kiddie pool (not “cooling-off”… she had soap) in the front yard of her half-length 1968 Fleetwood singlewide anywhere in America other than Gainseville. Gainseville gets extra credit for the toothless cretin that was cheering her on. Oh the things you will see (and can’t unsee) when stuck in “rush hour” traffic there.

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              • Dog in Fla

                It’s a longstanding Alachua County living arts tradition that the locals put on park burlesque shows for the tourists with the ultimate goal for the tourists to guess whether it’s environmental or genetic

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                • Sh3rl0ck

                  +1000 if you managed to type that with a straight face.

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                • Mayor

                  Playing in Gainesville isn’t really much different for us than if the game is played in Jax. It’s only a slightly longer drive for the folks who stay on Jekyll, St. Simons or Fernandina–just come down 301. If anything, it opens up the possibility of staying other places–like the West Coast of FL or Orlando if someone is going to Florida for the week, or in areas of South Georgia like Americus that have been out of the way before. Also, need I remind everyone, that would give Georgia another major SEC home game every 2 years. May I remind those of you who consistently bitch about the quality of the teams on Georgia’s home schedules? 2010 was: ULaLa, Arky, UT, Vandy, I-Da-Ho State and Ga Yech. 2011: South Carolina, Coastal Carolina, Missy State, New Mexico State, Auburn and UK. Some of the people on this blog who are the most opposed to moving the Georgia-FU game to home and away are the most vocal about how shitty the home schedule for the Dawgs has been.

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    • AB

      Florida AD Foley has said in the past that they would play their home game in Jacksonville. I seriously doubt that he would stick with that since they couldn’t even sell out their half of the stadium the last 4 years.

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  23. Will Trane

    Why in the state of Florida every year.
    As a minimum rotate between Atlanta and JAX…that would be 6 hours for the Gators.

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  24. @gatriguy

    Yes. Like I said, I grew up in Savannah. Going to Jax was going to the “big city” for us.

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  25. ApalachDawg

    Also, having been to several games in Ben hill griffin stadium, it is a dump. In fact the only cool thing about Gainesville is Tom Petty.
    I’d rather the neutral game in florida be moved to Orlando or Tampa before doing an away game in Gainesville.
    We could always have the game at LowndesCo high school

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  26. sniffer

    I stopped going to Jax in ’08. No plans to go back. I would go to Orlando or ATL and certainly to Athens.

    One thing I would miss if it becomes home and home is half the stadium cheering on every play.

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  27. Bulldog Joe

    I found a stadium with lots of parking in an Atlanta neighborhood every bit as nice as the one in Jacksonville.

    I did some checking and it IS available for the 2017 game.

    Just a little retro-retro-fitting back to its original 85,600-seat capacity and we’re good to go. 😉

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  28. Russ

    What’s face value on a Ga-Fl ticket this year?

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    • Chi-town Dawg

      Face value depends on seat location. Club level seats were $110 up from $80 a few years ago and I think another price increase is planned in the near future. Not sure about non-club level face value, but believe it is around $75 a ticket.

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  29. Rotate between home and Jax. Jax would be every third year. You’re welcome

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  30. Brandon

    We left our tailgate last year an hour before kickoff… and I still missed the first 5 minutes of the game. Mainly due to security stopping, wanding, and patting every single person that went in. You want a bottleneck? Build a stadium with only 4 gates and try letting 83,000 people in one at a time. Not to mention the concession and bathroom lines made Sanford seem like a breeze. I’m never going back to that hell hole again.

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  31. Chi-town Dawg

    If I were a betting man, I’d wager it stays in Jax for now. However, with the advent of more neutral site games, I hate losing another home game in Athens every few years. For example when we played Boise State in Atlanta or UNC next year, it’s one less home game and technically the UF game is also an away game. I’d personally prefer to see it go home and home and use the newer venues for one off neutral site games.

    Also, how much does UGA make in $$$ from a home game? I thought it was $4-5M a game, but maybe that’s high. I know that every other year, we’d lose out because UF would pocket the money, but agree that home and home would be a huge economic boost for Athens to add one more blockbuster game every other year.

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    • It’s in Jax because the game makes the schools more money than home-and-home does.

      And one area’s (Athens) economic boost is another’s (South Georgia) economic cut.

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      • AthensHomerDawg

        Well Bluto ACC could use a boost. 39.3% of its citizens live below the poverty line. Most of them within walking distance to the stadium. But I feel South Georgia’s pain.

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      • AB

        I’m no Bernie Sanders but the people profiting from the game in South GA aren’t exactly struggling financially.

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        • Neither are the ones in Athens who benefit from home games.

          Sorry, but I find it difficult to worry too much about the businesses in Athens (and Epps Bridge Parkway) who “need’ another game day they’ve never had. That’s just not a consideration in my – completely unimportant – book.

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  32. Debby Balcer

    We love the game in Jacksonville. Can’t wait to make the trip. The weather is supposed to be great this year. It will be a nice change from the weather now overcast and in the fifties.

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  33. If I don’t get to go to Florida in late Oct./early Nov. I get nervous and can’t function . I need sun/beer and football and if I don’t get it I become grumpier than i normally am. Stop this crap about moving this game…I need this mini vacation …I need..I NEED I NEED sun not the ATL. Does tradition mean nothing to you people …now get the F— off my lawn.

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  34. Its not the revenue we contribute to the state of Florida each year. Its not the poor service if we go home and home either way. It is going a loss down in the SEC East most years when it is becoming most difficult to make it to the SEC championship game! There is something to be said for sleeping in your own bed then leisurely busing over for the game! Even when we had the advantage we were at a dis – advantage! The Dawgs players probably enjoy staying at one of the St. Augustine resorts, but most everything in Buckhead or Chateau Elan are equally fine! So let’s just put the revenue in the state of Georgia’s pocket. Make the Gators fight like hell for one in the win column! Play it any where but Jacksonville!

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  35. Mayor

    I’m coming at this from a totally different place than most of you. I want the game to be played home and away because I believe the Dawgs gain an advantage that way. I care about winning the damn game–period. That’s all. Not money. Not nice trip to the beach. None of that. Win the damn game. Statistically, Georgia wins ‘tween the hedges more than it wins on the road. Also, statistically Georgia wins ‘tween the hedges WAAAAY more than it wins at neutral sites (i.e. bowl games, the WLOCP, SECCG, etc.). Why continue to play at a site where we do not have an advantage when we can play at a place where we DO have an advantage? To answer in advance the criticism I anticipate, yes FU has a home field advantage in the years when the game would be played in Gainesville–but not as much statistically as they have enjoyed in Jax the last 25 years. If we can trade Jax off for a smaller disadvantage in Gainesville and also get a better home field advantage by being in Athens every other year, let’s do it.

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    • JAX

      Dude – Florida has held the advantage since 1990 BECAUSE THE GATORS HAVE BEEN AN ELITE COLLEGE PROGRAM SINCE THAT TIME. THEY HAVE WON 3 NATIONAL TITLES AND MULTIPLE SEC TITLES SINCE 1990. WHAT PART OF THAT DO YOU AND OTHERS NOT UNDERSTAND?

      Florida never enjoyed a “home field advantage” in Jax during the Dooley years due to the fact that Georgia was typically the better team. And even in years where we were not (1985) Georgia STILL won. Your argument is baseless, period.

      The game may eventually be moved from Jax, but not for the empty reasons you and other suggest.

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  36. AB

    It should have went home/home after they tore down the Gator Bowl and built Alltel Stadium. College games should not be played in NFL stadiums with seat-backs. This game is too crucial to the SEC division race to give up home field advantage. Let the Jaguars have their stadium.

    Besides… we make an annual trip to Florida for the Outback Bowl/Citrus Bowl/Taxslayer Bowl.

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    • Dawgoholic

      The last 25 years have been much more about the bye than anything else.

      For the home and home crowd thinking we will win more because we are at home, under CMR we are 38-13 in road SEC games and 38-14 in home SEC games. I don’t think location means much in reality.

      Even if you start at 1990, we are above .500 against FL in Jax in years where both teams either had a bye or did not have a bye. We have not won a game since at least the 80s where FL had a bye but we did not.

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    • I don’t know. I kinda like seatbacks.

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  37. Coastal Dawg

    As a member of the Jacksonville Bulldog Club I can tell you the big issue is going to be what the Jags owner does with the stadium and the area around it. His 5-year plan is to take over the entire parking area along the river (across from the Maxwell House Coffe plant.) If that happens, cancel Christmas because the already tight parking will be a joke. THis is the only game we get to every year and I say it is time to go Home and Home. The City government likes it and will pony up soem money, but this city is all about the gators.

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    • JAX

      The area you refer to is called the shipyards and Khan’s redevelopment plan, if implemented, would be a boost to the city and the game, not the opposite. Parking would be required (zoning) for this new venue so it’s inaccurate to suggest that every spot that is currently on shipyard property would be eliminated.

      You say the city is “all about the Gators” — you obviously do not pay much attention. Are you aware that the city council President, Greg Anderson, is a staunch Bulldog? Are you aware of how many sitting council members and decision makers in various leadership positions are Bulldogs? Sure there are plenty of Gators in Jacksonville, that has been the case since 1900, but to suggest that we move to a home-and-home because of that is about the dumbest argument I’ve heard for relocating the game.

      Furthermore, under your logic, winning this game should give Bulldogs extra pride in the face of so many Jacksonville Gators. Tell me 2011, ’12, and ’13 didn’t give you an extra sense of pride.

      It is beyond me that a member of our Bulldog club and a Jacksonville resident, would call for the relocation of this storied game. It’s asinine and just plain pathetic.

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      • @gatriguy

        People are capable of forming an intelligent opinion that differs from yours, you know? I get that you’re trying to defend your town. Fair enough. But to act as if everyone that doesn’t like Jax is asinine or just too stupid to realize how great it is pretty insulting.

        Not everyone likes the cut of Jax’s jib. A lot of us have had shitty experiences on Sunday morning with all those “neutral” citizens. A lot of us hate what it does to our schedule every other year. There are valid reasons to consider going home and home.

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        • JAX

          I’m not defending the town in this instance — I’m refuting bad logic and facts. There is a difference. And no, I don’t cut someone slack when their opinion is based on bad info and is blatantly wrong — an unintelligent.

          As for your second para — yes, I understand the sting associated with losing the game and then fleeing back to the friendly confines of GA. But imagine living here and having tolerate that obnoxiousness — of course flip the script and it is equally if not more enjoyable when we win.

          I’m not going to change opinions on here, I know that, but at least make valid arguments and not seek weak-ass excuses to move the game. BTW, if scheduling has not been a factor for 85 years then why now?

          Just stop making excuses and win the damn game!

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  38. I’ve been 6 times. I ain’t never going back.

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