Day Two: Neutral Site
Since the beginning of the Florida-Georgia rivalry, the teams have played the game on a neutral site.
Florida often played “home” games against major competitors at off-campus sites before Florida Field was constructed in 1930. During that time, the Gators played Georgia in Jacksonville, Savannah, and Tampa as well as three games in Athens.
The teams met in Gainesville for the first time in 1931, then returned to Athens in 1932. Since 1933, the game has been played in Jacksonville. There was a home-and-home matchup in 1994 and 1995 when the old Gator Bowl was being rebuilt.
In almost 100 meetings, the game has been played in Gainesville or Athens a total of only seven times.
The game is played at TIAA Bank Field, home to the NFL’s Jacksonville Jaguars. The stadium typically holds 64,000. The seating capacity gets increased for the FL-GA game to over 82,000 seats!
The “Home” Team
Since the game is played at a neutral site, the designated home team alternates from year to year. The ticket distribution is split evenly between the fans of the two teams.
In the 1980s, the tickets were grouped by alternating sections so that the teams’ contrasting colors created “beach ball” visual effect in the stands. Now the seating arrangement splits the stadium with Florida fans on one side and the Georgia fans on the other side. They sit on the side that corresponds to the sideline their team occupies.
Neutral but Lucrative
Hosting the game on a neutral site makes more economic sense for each school than a traditional home-and-away arrangement.
The weekend is also lucrative for Jacksonville areas businesses, particularly in the downtown area. The Saint Simons Island hosts more 10,000 Georgia students alone that weekend.
Will it Ever Move?
Each time a school starts to dominate the rivalry, there are calls to move the game to another site. Calles have been made to move the game to Atlanta or make it a home-and-home arrangement. However, the most recent contract extensions keep the game in Jacksonville until 2021.