Florida-Georgia game has $35M economic impact

Impact to city up $2M from 2014 as tourists flock to Jacksonville for game

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – The city released numbers today indicating a $35 million in economic impact from the Florida-Georgia game.

More than 138,000 total visitors came to the River City this year for the annual showdown. . Jacksonville has played host to the game for 82 consecutive years. As of right now, the contract has not been extended beyond next year’s game.

“As Jacksonville continues to revolve as a destination, people want to be here,” said Dave Herrell, city of Jacksonville, sports and entertainment officer. “It's certainly not just a game, it's an event. It's an entire weekend of activities. “

The numbers show that once again, the game was a huge win for the city. On the field and in the community, these numbers show why this game is one of the marquee events in Jacksonville.

Inside the stadium, it was another packed house. Across the street in RV City fans spent much of the week in Jacksonville, pouring money into the local economy. And for hotels, the numbers were great, with 37,270 total room nights.

All the weekend-long activities are key to getting people to stay in town longer and spend more of their money locally. This also helps at a time that would otherwise be quiet for the hospitality industry and employees in town.

Herrell says the recent and upcoming upgrades in and around the stadium only help the efforts to keep this game and the economic impact it brings. City council on Tuesday night approved funding for a new amphitheater to be built next to the stadium at EverBank Field.

“With an event like Florida-Georgia, having those new opportunities coming online is certainly going to add complement, but we are doing it from an event perspective,” Herrell said.

The city sports council recognizes the impact of having a facility like an amphitheater for events like the Florida-Georgia game.

“What they are doing here gives us a facility that creates huge amounts of premium revenue that you can negotiate a deal with different people,” Rick Catlett, president, Jacksonville Sports Council. “You can bring Navy/Notre Dame in here, you can get an FSU neutral site game. That's the power of what Mr. Khan and the Jaguars are doing.”

The Gators came out on top this year, beating Georgia 27-3, but city businesses also won, particularly restaurants and hotels. More than 37,000 total room nights were booked, according to Visit Jacksonville. Nearly 140,000 tourists spent the weekend in Jacksonville hotels.

“The positive results from the annual Florida-Georgia game underscore the importance of this event to our community,” Mayor Lenny Curry said in a news release. “This event drives economic impact benefits and amplifies our community as a leading destination for major events.”

Florida-Georgia football game 2015 impact breakdown*:

  • Business sales (direct): $20,340,053
  • Business sales (total): $35,302,992
  • Room nights (total): 37,270
  • Total visitors: 138,539
  • Total local tax receipts: $1,290,581
  • Television ratings: 3.1
  • Television viewership: 5,015,000

*information from CBS Television and Visit Jacksonville