JACKSONVILLE, Fla.- The future of the Florida-Georgia remains up in the air as the city of Jacksonville and the two schools continue to negotiate a new deal to keep the game at Everbank Field past 2016.
Records and emails obtained by First Coast News reveal a negotiation process past the deadline set in the previous contract. According to emails, city officials say they need to enter into a “written agreement by or before January 31, 2016.”
City officials emailed a “Florida-Georgia Game Term Sheet” to the athletic directors at the University of Florida and the University of Georgia on January 18th, 2016. The term sheet is not a final contract and a city spokesperson says negotiations are still on-going. Neither UF athletic director Jeremy Foley nor UGA athletic director Greg McGarity have signed the term sheet.
Both schools directed questions back towards city of Jacksonville officials, but a UF athletics spokesperson says “We are working hand in hand with the city of Jacksonville and we are progressing in the right direction.”
As part of the term sheet, the universities would extend their contract with Jacksonville an additional 7 years. Also included in the term sheet:
- Each team will receive a $250,000 annual payment per game starting in 2017.
- City of Jacksonville will pay $125,000 per team for playing in the game during the 2016 season. This is for consideration of a seven year contract extension.
- $60,000 per team travel stipend. (This is a $10,000 raise from the previous seven year contract.)
- Jacksonville will pay for the University of Georgia’s air travel cost as long as it doesn’t exceed $350,000.
- Jacksonville is responsible for creating a “customized seating solution if any club seats are removed for stadium club seat renovations.” The schools must approve.
- Jacksonville must use its best efforts to create permanent ads inside Everbank Field for the game.
The previous contract was signed for seven years in 2009. The previous contract paid the schools $50,000 to help offset the cost. The new agreement would run through the 2023 season with the contract expiring on February 15, 2024. This would be the first contract to offer guaranteed payments.
The length on the new contract is one of the sticking points for the University of Georgia. The city originally wanted a ten year deal, but Georgia would not go longer than seven.
The Florida-Georgia game brings in more than $35 million for the city of Jacksonville and more than 138,000 out of town visitors every year. The University of Florida makes $3.4 million annually from the game.
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