Expected Florida-Georgia economic impact: $22-24M

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – It's the biggest weekend in Jacksonville -- the Florida-Georgia game.

The downtown area and EverBank Field are being swarmed by fans in town for Saturday's matchup. Some of the fans have been in town since earlier this week.

Josh Hodges was putting the final touches Friday on a satellite dish in RV City, because he and an estimated 20,000 others intend to watch the game somewhere outside the stadium. Whether fans are rooting for the Gators or Bulldogs, many consider this to be a vacation, and they are more than willing to spend their money.

"Food, drinks, gas, generators, got to get a flush out, water, fill up, plus the space is $125 a night. Five-hundred dollars already," said Hodges, a Gators fan.

He said he'll spend more than $1,000 over three days, adding to an estimated $22-24 million economic impact over the entire week. The city of Jacksonville expects 150,000 to 200,000 people to be in the sports complex area on game day.

EverBank Field can hold roughly 85,00 fans, and the game is nearly sold out. There are about 100 tickets left for the game on StubHub, and scalpers are already selling tickets on street corners.

For fans like Terry Dees, it's a game he wouldn't miss. It's his 20th year in Jacksonville rooting the Bulldogs on.

"It's just fun, lot of people," he said. "I usually come a week, take a week, ride my Harley sometimes."

"At the end of the game, whether we win or lose, we all go over and shake each other's hands," Gators fan Dan Alexander said. "We've lost the last couple times and hope we don't lose, but if it happens it happens."

About the Author: