Florida/Georgia extension in Jacksonville still not finalized ahead of final game under contract

It’s been more than seven months since the University of Georgia, University of Florida, and Mayor of Jacksonville signed terms extending the contract for the annual neutral site football game at EverBank Field.

It’s been more than six months since the long-form contract binding the extension was supposed to be executed, according to the terms sheet.

Now, less than a week ahead of the final game under the existing contract, still no long-term deal has come in front of the Jacksonville City Council to approve.

In March, Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry unveiled a five-year extension of the Florida-Georgia game. While this year is technically considered the Georgia-Florida game, because Georgia is the home team, the official documentation lists Florida first. The 2017 game is supposed to be the first one under the contract extension, and discussions on a longer agreement would begin immediately after the 2018 game.

In all, the terms that were agreed to commit an extra $2.75 million in incentives for the teams over the five year life of the contract. That’s in addition to payouts that would stay relatively unchanged- like travel stipends for each team- and revenue that goes to the schools instead of the City- like ticket sales.

The term sheet was signed by University of Georgia Director of Athletics Greg McGarity, University of Florida Athletics Director Jeremy Foley, and Jacksonville Mayor Lenny Curry. Curry dated the terms sheet March 16, 2016. The agreement is not official until it is drafted as a formal contract extension and approved by the Jacksonville City Council, though, and the terms sheet committed that to happening by April 15, 2016.

The deadline came and went, and WOKV has been consistently checking in with the City of Jacksonville, which over the last few months has said their work on the final contract continued to move forward and all parties are working together. Now, a City Spokeswoman says the contract is with the respective school attorneys, but she had no comment on why it took so long to get the contracts there or how long it would take for their reviews.

A statement from UF Athletics Director Jeremy Foley to WOKV says that could happen soon.

“As we’ve said numerous times over the years, the Florida-Georgia game belongs in Jacksonville. Due to the hard work and cooperation from the City of Jacksonville, the Jacksonville Jaguars and our counterparts at Georgia and our recent contract extension it will continue to be in Jacksonville. The contract renewal is currently being reviewed by both institutions and should be fully executed in the near future,” the statement says.

The University of Georgia Senior Associate Athletic Director referred us to a release about the extension sent by the City in March and deferred to the City for further comment.

In prior years, the City has spoken about planning the next game as soon as the annual one is done, so it's unclear right now just how much wiggle room exists before not having a finalized contract will start to become an issue. It grows even more significant as the City makes renovations to EverBank Field that involve removing seats though, because the City already pays every year to build the contractually obligated number of seats, and that grows as seats are removed- like for the recent Club Level renovations. As the number of seats to be temporarily built for the game grows, so does the cost.

The 2016 game kicks off a busy few weeks in Jacksonville that also include the Navy/Notre Dame game and the Sea and Sky Air Show. The City estimates Florida/Georgia alone brings in around $35 million in economic impact for Northeast Florida. That comes from visitors staying in town, eating at restaurants, and taking part in activities programmed around the game itself, including pep rallies.

Comments on this article

mobile apps

Everything you love about wokv.com and more! Tap on any of the buttons below to download our app.

amazon alexa

Enable our Skill today to listen live at home on your Alexa Devices!