Florida-Georgia game contract to be extended through 2025

Garry Smits
The Florida-Georgia game has been in Jacksonville since 1933, with only a two-year interruption. [Bob Self/Florida Times Union)

Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry announced on his Twitter feed on Friday that the city has reached an agreement with the universities of Florida and Georgia to continue playing their annual game at TIAA Bank Field through 2023, with an option through 2025.

And it means a big boost to the financial fortunes of the two teams.

Beginning in 2020, each team will get $1 million, according to the memo of understanding. It remains $1 million in 2021 and increases to $1.25 million in 2022 and 2023.

UF and UGa had been getting $250,000 each under the terms of the current contract, which was signed March 16, 2016, and ran through 2021.

The two teams split the gate, which comes to around $3.3 million each per year. That means by 2022, each team will receive more than $4.5 million. This year, each team gets about $3.55 million.

The two-year option must be picked up by May 15, 2022.

Florida will continue to get a travel allowance of $60,000 and Georgia gets $350,000, which covers air fare for the official party.

The city has estimated the economic impact of the Flordia-Georgia game at $35 million per year.

The two teams play on Nov. 2 (3:30 p.m., CBS).

Curry also announced the “Bold City Bash,” a block party in the stadium area that will include an exhibition baseball game and a concert with Chase Rice and Brent Young on Nov. 1, the night before the game.

“I’m excited about what this agreement means for our city,” Curry sid. “This is more than a game. It’s a tradition.” 

He said the contract will be completed “in the coming weeks,” and sent to the City Council for approval.

The new deal comes five months after Georgia coach Kirby Smart suggested the game could move. Florida coach Dan Mullen had similar comments two months later.

But their two superiors issued statements in strong support of keeping the game in Jacksonville.

"We are excited to continue one of the great traditions in all of college football in having the Florida-Georgia game in Jacksonville," said Florida athletic director Scott Stricklin. "The Florida-Georgia game is more than a football game, it is a week-long celebration of two storied programs meeting on a neutral field that has created generational memories for both fan bases. We are appreciative of the partnership we have with the city of Jacksonville and Mayor Lenny Curry to extend our agreement."

Georgia athletic director Greg McGarity echoed those sentiments in his statement.

"We look forward to the continuation of one of the greatest college football traditions in the country — a border states battle between Georgia and Florida," he said. "The extension ensures the historical preservation of the game in Jacksonville, which has been part of the national college football landscape since 1933. The city of Jacksonville has once again demonstrated its commitment to this game through significant financial considerations to each school."

The two teams have been playing in Jacksonville annually since 1933. The only interruption in the neutral-site series was in 1994 and 1995, when the game was played at the two campuses because of renovation to the stadium in preparation for the Jaguars beginning play.

It is one of three major neutral-site games played on an annual basis, in addition to Texas-Oklahoma in Dallas and Army-Navy.

Georgia won last year’s game 36-17 to extend its lead in the rivalry to 51-43-2. The Bulldogs have won five of the last eight meetings.