JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The ultimate rivalry game is set to remain in the River City. The City of Jacksonville announced the Florida-Georgia game is staying for another two years, which many local businesses say is a huge relief.
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“It’s been such a major revenue generator for years,” Ocean Street Tacos general manager Tim Fallon said.
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This matchup is an October tradition many local restaurants say they can rely on for business. With thousands of people flocking to the TIAA Bank Field, millions of dollars are goings towards the city.
“It is the only day of the year that that is completely blacked out on the Intuition calendar,” Intuition Ale Works kitchen manager Joe Morris said.
More than 80,000 fans take in the Florida-Georgia game at TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville. A matchup that’s taken place here since 1933.
Intuition Ale Works has been here since 2010. Knowing just how busy they get; Morris says it requires all hands on deck for an entire week.
“All staff members have to be here because it brings so much more than just the fans of the college, it’s regional,” Morris said.
Watch: Florida-Georgia, 2 more years; 2024 & 2025
The city’s contract was set to expire this year. In the last year, Georgia head coach Kirby Smart has said he wants to move the game back to each school’s campus. But today, the two schools agreed to play in Jacksonville in 2024 and 2025. Last year’s game created roughly $30 million in economic impact for the city.
While the Jaguars’ games pull in a lot of revenue, Fallon says those games don’t compare to Florida-Georgia.
“Jags games don’t pull amount that amount of revenue in that amount of time,” Fallon said. “It’s apples to oranges really.”
Dylan Ward is a Georgia fan who has been going to the games for more than 10 years now. He says it wouldn’t have made sense for the game to leave Jacksonville.
“I don’t think it’d be as good,” Ward said. “I think they’d have a lot of challenges and things that they wouldn’t have thought about, that Jacksonville’s been perfecting for 90 years,” Ward said.
Crystal Parker is a Gators fan and agrees. She says playing the game in the River City is the best way to keep the games neutral.
“It’s been here for all this time, why change it?” Parker said.
The Gators are slated to go head-to-head with the Bulldogs on October 28th for this year’s matchup.
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I tried speaking with Mayor Lenny Curry and Mayor-elect Donna Deegan today, but both declined to comment. However, Deegan said she would address it at a scheduled news conference tomorrow.