The University of Florida and University of Georgia’s football rivalry will stay in Jacksonville for at least another five years, city officials announced Wednesday.
Mayor Lenny Curry says a deal to extend the city’s contract to host the Florida-Georgia game was on life support before his election.
“What my team did on this issue is what my team has done on every issue since we’ve taken office: We got to work on it. So many people in this room that immediately jumped on the case — we are about solving problems, creating opportunities and getting things done.”
Nearly every announcing a new business partnership — like Google Fiber in October or Ernst & Young’s expansion earlier this month — Curry’s hinted at his predecessor, Alvin Brown’s inability to close a deal.
Under the sports new contract, the universities will continue to rake in a percentage of ticket sales, and they’ll also score an annual $250,000 incentive to sweeten the deal.
According to Jacksonville's sports office, the 2015 Florida-Georgia weekend had a $35 million economic impact, though only $20 million could be directly traced to the game. The remaining $15 million is a projection using a Visit Jacksonville tourism calculator. That estimate also doesn't include how much the city spends on extra law enforcement, promotional material and other expenses.
The city had hoped for a longer contract, but Curry says after two years, Jacksonville can renegotiate.