JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Could the Florida-Georgia football game in Jacksonville eventually leave the First Coast?
Georgia coach Kirby Smart lit the fuse again on the oft-discussed topic, telling media on Tuesday at the SEC spring meetings in Destin that the possibility to move the game to a home-and-home series is always open for discussion.
“Nothing’s off the table,” Smart said. “Nothing’s been decided, either.”
Georgia HC Kirby Smart on the future of the Georgia/Florida game in Jacksonville: “It’s always up for discussion. Nothing is off the table.”— CFB Home (@CFBHome) May 28, 2019
Some believe there is serious talk of the rivalry being move from Jacksonville to a home-and-home. pic.twitter.com/wzSdmWbG3Q
The city released a statement from Mayor Lenny Curry, saying that it was remaining steadfast in keeping the game in town, a place where it has been held all but two years, since 1933. The 1994 game was played in Gainesville and the 1995 game in Athens due to renovations on the stadium.
Re: Florida-Georgia gane: source tells me both schools currently make more annually playing in Jacksonville than on campus — and will make “a significant amount” more with new deal being ironed out. #Gators #UGA— Matt Hayes (@MattHayesCFB) May 28, 2019
“Jacksonville is proud to host this game," Curry said. "The administration is in active discussions with both schools to keep this longstanding tradition in Jacksonville where it belongs.”
The city and the schools announced an extension in 2016, although it wasn’t passed until the following year. That deal keeps the game in Jacksonville through 2021.
Regardless of Smart’s statement, the school’s and the city of Jacksonville will ultimately have the final say. Each school earned $125,000 in the first year of the contract, and $250,000 for the second through the fifth year of the deal. The teams also split the gate revenue.
Neutral site location in Jacksonville is one of largest reasons Florida-Georgia is one of college football’s most special rivalry games.— Neil W. Blackmon (@nwblackmon) May 28, 2019
I’m consistently amazed by the number of folks that want to fix things that aren’t only not broken, but work really well.