Good assessment of the Cocktail Party’s future from a Jacksonville beat writer’s perspective here.
If there’s any legitimate threat to the game leaving Jacksonville, it’d be a combination of two things: not acquiescing to the schools’ contractual demand of the Georgia-Florida game capacity remaining 82,917, along with any future push from Georgia to maybe bring Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium into the equation on a biennial basis.
It’s no secret the replacement venue for the demolished Georgia Dome has become a huge neutral-site player on the college football landscape. With an expanded capacity of 75,000, though it’s almost 8,000 less seats than TIAA Bank Field, the only way Atlanta can significantly outspend Jacksonville for the Georgia-Florida game in terms of payout would be to charge at least double for club seats.
“The biggest threat [for Jacksonville] is somebody comes along and offers $5 million per team,” said TaxSlayer Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett. “But to get that, you have to set the same price as Atlanta and Dallas gets for neutral-site games. So those club seats that are $125 [at TIAA Bank Field] might have to go as high as $300. I know Georgia won’t want to do that to its fan base.”
In other words, the game isn’t coming to Atlanta. But you knew that, right?