… there’s money…
The long-standing deal currently brings each school an average of $2 million extra per year free and clear of the costs it takes to operate such a game. The universities have operated on a series of four-year contracts with Jacksonville that have built-in escalators and have gotten increasingly lucrative with each renewal. They’re scheduled for another re-up in 2023.
Specifically, the programs split the ticket revenue from 84,000 seats. In addition, the Jacksonville contract guarantees each school $1 million in 2021, $1.25 million in 2022 and 2023. Each school receives an additional $60,000 for travel expenses, while Georgia gets an additional $350,000 chartered-jet service.
… and then there’s money.
Athens’ city leaders certainly would agree with that. Game-day weekends are a blast, and they bring in a ton of business.
Williams said hotel occupancy on football weekends increases to more than 99%, compared with 67% the rest of the year, with two-night minimums and a four-times-higher average daily rate (ADR). She said ADRs were four times higher for the Auburn weekend, and she expects they may increase even more for the Tennessee weekend.
You may say better Athens than Jax, and that’s your privilege, except it’s only the latter that’s paying through the nose to the schools to host the game. And those aren’t the only two areas that would/do benefit financially, as Towers notes.
There also is a multimillion-dollar impact on St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island and Brunswick, which comprise the area in coastal Georgia known as the Golden Isles.
One other wrinkle to consider is if the SEC expands to a nine-game conference schedule once Oklahoma and Texas are in the fold. That stands to add an extra SEC home game every other season, regardless of where the WLOCP is played. More ADR, for the win!