With the Florida Gators and the Georgia Bulldogs ready to commence their annual Florida-Georgia rivalry, the two teams will travel to Jacksonville, Florida, for the game. It has been a tradition for both teams to meet in Jacksonville annually for their highly-anticipated contest.
The question that some might be wondering is why they play in Jacksonville instead of playing in their home stadiums.
Why Do Florida and Georgia Play in Jacksonville?
Florida and Georgia’s rivalry has been played in Jacksonville since 1933.
Since then, every game between the two schools has been played in Jacksonville except for games in 1994 and 1995 as they played in their home stadiums due to the construction of TIAA Bank Field as the Jaguars’ home stadium.
There are two reasons that are believed to be behind why the teams play in Jacksonville.
In an article by 11 Alive, the size of the stadium in Jacksonville played a part in their decision to play at the neutral site. Football stadiums back then were not as big as they are today, which includes the stadiums Florida and Georgia had.
To ensure they could get more fans and make more revenue on the game, they started by playing in Fairfield Stadium in Jacksonville.
Even with the schools building new stadiums for themselves, the situation was a win-win for the programs and the city. Playing in a bigger city gave the teams the opportunity to raise the prices of tickets. At the same time, the city of Jacksonville saw another revenue stream for their city, so they were able to make a profit off the game for the weekend.
The second reason for Jacksonville being the location is that it was easy access for the fans to travel to the game. Fans would take the train to Jacksonville since it was near the railroads, so for fans traveling from Athens, Georgia, or Gainesville, Florida, it was smoother for them to get to and from the game.
Ever since 1933, the two teams have played most of their games in Jacksonville, and the city has seen the benefits of the teams playing each year.
There is some uncertainty with the Jacksonville Jaguars renovating their stadium in the next two years, but this is a relationship that should keep going beyond the 2023 season.