Georgia–Florida game staying in Jacksonville through 2025

Georgia and Florida have recently announced that their football rivalry will extend its stay in Jacksonville, Florida, through the 2025 season.

Both universities released an official statement confirming the contract extension on Wednesday.

“We are pleased with the decision to exercise the option that will keep the game in Jacksonville for 2024 and 2025,” Georgia athletic director Josh Brooks said. “We look forward to discussions that I’m sure will continue over the next couple years exploring all the options for 2026 and beyond. We continue to be appreciative of the working relationship we have with the University of Florida and the City of Jacksonville.”

Initially set to conclude after the 2023 season, the new agreement guarantees the continuation of the matchup in Jacksonville for the 2024 and 2025 seasons.

“The City of Jacksonville has been a historic host for one of the great rivalry games in all of college football,” Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin said. “We are excited to have the game in Jacksonville for another two seasons.”

Notably, Jacksonville is planning to renovate its stadium in the near future, as previously mentioned by mayor Lenny Curry earlier this month. While the specific details of the renovations are yet to be finalized, the proposed changes would necessitate the relocation of the Georgia-Florida game to an alternate venue for two seasons.

“The goal would be to play somewhere in Jacksonville,” Curry said on 1010XL. “Those discussions are happening, but two years is the goal. … I do know that they are considering certain sites that are local that could accommodate them for at least two years.”

Despite Georgia coach Kirby Smart’s preference for a home-and-home series format, the rivalry will persist as a neutral-site game for the next three seasons, ensuring the excitement and tradition of the matchup remain intact.

Smart reiterated his desire for a home-and-home series last week.

“I firmly believe that we’ll be able to sign better players by having it as a home-and-home because we’ll have more opportunities to get them to campus.

But, I also think there’s a financial factor that factors into that, with having the game there, and being able to make more money for the university, possibly, there. You have to weigh both those and make really good decisions.”

Each year since 1933, except for 1994 and 1995 when the old Gator Bowl was being renovated, Georgia and Florida have met in Jacksonville. The game was christened “the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party” in the early 1950s by Bill Kastelz, sports editor for the Florida Times-Union.

The series dates back to 1904, but Florida doesn’t count that first game, as it occurred before the modern establishment of the university by the Florida legislature in 1905. The first game was played in Macon between Georgia and the Florida Agriculture College, one of four predecessor colleges of Florida, based in Lake City.

Georgia leads the all-time series against Florida 54-44-2.

In 2018, Curry stated that economic impact on the city of Jacksonville topped $30m by hosting the Georgia vs. Florida game.

Story originally appeared on UGA Wire