Jax and the Georgia Way

Seth Emerson ($$) is skeptical that Kirby Smart’s public stance on moving the Cocktail Party from its current location is some sort of good cop, bad cop scheme to extort more money out of Jacksonville.  Occam’s razor suggests that Smart’s motivation is exactly what he says it is.  (“But let’s be clear on why Smart wants the game moved: So he can host recruits at home for his team’s biggest rivalry game.”)  That would suggest that Atlanta is as much of a non-starter for Georgia’s coach as leaving the game in Jacksonville is.

But there’s that one pesky thing standing in Kirby Smart’s way.

Whether he will get his way, I remain skeptical. Georgia still makes a lot more money holding the game in Jacksonville because the two schools keep all the ticket revenue, and on an annual basis, that’s fairly similar to what each makes on a home game. If the game were moved to home-and-home, one team each year would be leaving money on the table. (Former athletic director Greg McGarity estimated in 2019 that each school profited by about $3 million during a two-year period for holding it in Jacksonville than if it were on campus sites. So about $15 million per decade is the difference between holding it in Jacksonville versus campus sites.)

So where do things stand? The contract runs through 2023, with the option to extend through 2025, which could happen once the future of SEC scheduling is resolved, probably this fall. In all the debate about that future schedule — nine games versus eight, three permanent opponents versus one — never once did I hear mention that Georgia-Florida could be moving to campus sites, and you’d think that would be something that would come up, given the domino effect it would have on home versus away games every year.

The other thing to watch is whether influential donors in the south Georgia area, particularly the Savannah-Sea Island corridor, have become so happy about winning the ring that they’ve called up Morehead and Brooks and said: “Hey, I know this takes away our most favorite event of the year, the one we build our fall around and an ongoing tradition since 1933, but ah what the hell, give Kirby what he wants. I’ll still write you checks for your $300 million capital campaign.”

Money has been undefeated in Butts-Mehre as long as I can remember.  So, yes, I know, Smart is swinging a lot of leverage these days, coming off a national championship, but is that enough to overcome the almighty checkbook?  Like Seth, I remain skeptical.



Filed under Georgia Football

34 responses to “Jax and the Georgia Way

  1. 79dawg

    I mentioned Florida in the ’90s in another thread, and so I’ll mention it here – I sure hope we didn’t plan a big recruiting weekend planned for the Florida game in ’95…..

    Liked by 6 people

    • boz864

      I mean, the only thing I remember about that weekend was Braves winning the World Series… great parade around downtown that night! Was a nice way to take the edge off the disaster earlier in the day.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. RangerRuss

    Yeah, but what does Mike Fuckn Griffith think about it? Any clues?

    Liked by 8 people

  3. All I can say is that for once I’m in complete agreement with the Georgia way 😉

    Liked by 2 people

  4. muttleyagain

    This might be the only instance in the current era of college football where tradition and money actually agree on something. That’s a powerful team, but I’m still not quite betting against Kirby.

    Liked by 2 people

  5. David K

    I’d prefer the game go to home and home instead of Jacksonville, but if it stays in Jacksonville I’m fine with that. However, the GA FLA game should never go to Atlanta. If it’s going to be a neutral site game, keep the tradition. Fuck that dome in Atlanta.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is only going to happen if they find a way to make up the lost revenue from the wallets … sorry, season tickets holders … and the Magill and above crowd give their ok.

    That capital campaign isn’t going to pay for itself.


  7. bucketheridge

    I wonder if Sankey may weigh in on this behind the scenes. The Cocktail Party is cemented as a 3:30 kick every year. Just check the confirmed schedule that comes with TBD in all slots except that game. There’s a ton of value in the Cocktail Party, and now Texas v. OU, for a media rights deal. If we move that to a home and home, that becomes just another rivalry game that may or may not be the game of the week.

    Liked by 1 person

    • rigger92

      This is the last time CBS will be doing it though. I’d bet that all bets are off going into the future, seeing if ESPN puts it on ABC or SECNet will tell us a lot.


      • bucketheridge

        I hear you, but I read another column on this debate this week that quoted “an industry source” that the Cocktail Party isn’t moving anywhere as far as TV is concerned. “It’s ratings gold, no matter what the records are.”

        My point is that there are certain games that, for various reasons, remain important no matter what. There aren’t a lot of those, but the Cocktail Party is one of them. That game brings a ton of value because of the setting, and all that surrounds it.

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Jim Wood wrote a blog about this. I went back and looked at the home opponents since 2017. Not great. 5 of the 13 teams who finished with 8+ wins were 2017 App State (9-4) 2021 UAB (9-4) 2017 Samford (8-4) 2018 MTSU (8-6) 2019 Ark State (8-5). Without 2019 ND, the home slate is awful.

    Liked by 1 person

    • akascuba

      I agree the home slate has been mostly lacking. Trash the neutral site season openers with home and home marquee matchups. Leave the tradition of beating FU in Jacksonville alone.
      Rule# 1 follow the money. As long as there is plenty of cash to be made neutral site openers are for now what we get.

      I took a quick look at the current future schedules till 2033. There are some good games that I hope don’t get blown up with realignment or Alliance cowardice looking at tOSU. Here are a few of my personal favorites.
      2024 Clemson at MB
      2025 at UCLA
      2026 UCLA home opener
      2027 FSU on the road season opener Louisville in Athens
      2028 opens at Texas two weeks later FSU between the hedges
      2029 Texas visits Athens two weeks later we visit the mistake by the lake
      2030 Clemson as the opener two weeks later tOSU in between the hedges
      2031 at tOSU season opener two weeks later Oklahoma comes to Athens
      2032 Clemson home opener
      2033 at Clemson home opener with NC State also at home.

      2023 has a trip to Norman OU in week two. In or out of conference game I don’t care. It’s good to see the Clemson rivalry returning. I love traveling with the Dawgnation especially to new stadiums. Beyond ten years I don’t GAS given our current course heading toward destroying all that I enjoy about CFB.

      Liked by 2 people

  9. Like

  10. Let’s not forget that Kirby coached in a lot of Iron Bowls. Seems to me he values a home and home with your rival for a lot reason as opposed to the money of a neutral site rivalry


  11. SCDawg

    Kirby you don’t like missing one weekend for extra recruiting every other year? Then Stop scheduling marquee neutral site games in Charlotte and atlanta and play those as home and away games. Imagine if we’d have played notre dame only once in Indianapolis or atlanta?

    Liked by 3 people

  12. DawgStats

    Kirby coached in a lot of Iron Bowls. He knows that a home and home is better than neutral site. Better for recruiting. Better for the fans.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. jim1886

    Step away and take a look at the Bug Picture.
    Kirby has built the program to the level everyone wants.
    He is pulling more revenue into the program that as ever happened.
    15 to 20 m around Jacksonville is Trump change.
    Give Kirby what he wants just like Bama will give Saban what he wants


  14. kirkwooderson

    2 thoughts:
    – If Kirby says it matters for recruiting, I think he has more than earned the benefit of the doubt. I don’t trust him on hairstylist recommendations or when to take a knee after a Q4 pick in the natty, but gotta trust him on recruiting.

    However, it is a little short sighted…what does recruiting even mean in 5 or 10 years? We are very close to getting to full on pay for play, where recruiting boils down to “I will pay you more $$”…”ok I will play for you” recruitment over! Like how recruiting works for every other job in the world. Much less need for the personal/emotional/political component of recruiting. In this world the incremental money from Jax will matter even more!


    • 79dawg

      I know many (most?) will find this blasphemous, but who really believes the big-time recruits when they say X campus is better than Y campus? It is just something they can use to justify or rationalize their decision – they have to say “Athens has the great college atmosphere and the campus is beautiful,” because they can’t say “Georgia gave me the best NIL deal and offered me the best avenue to get to the pros, which is my ultimate dream!”


  15. ApalachDawg aux Bruxelles

    i’ve said before but supporters of home and home for this game…
    1) have never been to that shithole in gainesville
    2) experienced turd fans at sanford stadium

    y’all have lost your damn mind

    Liked by 3 people

    • californiadawg

      Reason enough for keeping it in Jax is preventing Gators from infesting downtown Athens every other year.


  16. uga97

    Whelp our home games vs the East & Auburn right now pretty much suck, so hosting FU in Athens would elevate 1 home game atmosphere It’s not as electric being in Jax, it’s just not at 3:30 since half the stadium is Gators. Plus we could move it to a night game in Athens, that would blow the doors off the place. Not traveling to the state of Florida and having to forfeit an entire life weekend every year but instead see them in Athens every 2 years would be great. Heck most only go to Jax once every 3-5 years anyway.


  17. Clayton Joiner

    Win 1 more Natty and he just might get his way…