Ah, the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. I mean, the Florida-Georgia Game.
Once labeled with one of the more unique monikers of any college football rivalry game, the game between archrival Florida Gators and Georgia Bulldogs now bears a more unoriginal name: Florida-Georgia Rivalry. But why?
Why is Florida-Georgia Not Called the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party?
To understand why the moniker was lost, you must first understand why it was labeled as such in the first place.
MORE: Florida-Georgia Rivalry Annual Results
The city of Jacksonville welcomes the game and each team’s respective fanbases with open arms. With tailgaters, attendees, and fans alike all converging on the city, Jacksonville businesses see a large boom in financial business for its restaurants, bars, and other businesses.
The game itself has been known for its epic tailgates, and the areas in and around the downtown Jacksonville area spill with Orange and Blue and Black and Red all weekend. The debauchery has been around for years, leading to the coining of the famed rivalry name.
In the 1950s, the nickname World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party was handed out by The Florida-Times Union sports editor Bill Kastelz. The legend looms large that Kastelz came up with the name after he saw a stumbling fan offer a cop a beverage of alcoholic proportions.
The name stuck and proved incredibly popular among its fanbases. Jacksonville, as a city, began using the nickname to promote the annual rivalry for years leading up to 1988.
In the lead-up to the 1988 season, there were a series of outbursts that were fueled by alcohol. Florida fans stormed the field in 1984, and Georgia fans did the same a year later, each fanbase tearing down the goalposts. The final straw was in 1985 when 65 arrests were made following Georgia’s field storming.
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There are also untimely injuries that have occurred, including the deaths of some in attendance due to severe alcohol abuse during the weekend.
While the city of Jacksonville stopped using the nickname in 1988, it took until 2006 for both schools and the SEC to ask CBS Sports to refrain from using the nickname in any promotional material or during their broadcast of the game itself.
Other nicknames have been proposed, including the War for the Oar, but the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party is still whispered throughout both fanbases.
That’s what you get when you combine debauchery and the power of the written word.