Dawgs to play Gators in JAX until at least 2010

JACKSONVILLE - Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton, University of Florida Athletic Director Jeremy Foley and University of Georgia Athletic Director Damon Evans announced Friday that the city and universities have reached a lease extension agreement for the Florida-Georgia/Georgia-Florida college football game held annually in Jacksonville.

One of only three college games in the nation held at a site which is neither team's home field, the universities have two years left on the current contract with the city. The new lease, which will apply to the 2007-2010 games, will create additional revenue and marketing opportunities for the universities and the City of Jacksonville.

"This longstanding Jacksonville tradition captures the spirit of college football rivalry at its best and we are so pleased to serve as the host for years to come," said Peyton. "This highly anticipated annual event not only provides outstanding entertainment but also plays a valued role in our economy."

"We appreciate the support of the Jacksonville community to keep this traditional rivalry in Jacksonville through 2010," said Foley. "The week-long festivities in the community and the pageantry surrounding the game are unmatched in college football."

"Nothing characterizes the tradition of college football more than the Georgia-Florida game in Jacksonville," said Evans. "It is one of the nation's most unique and enduring rivalries and we are excited that Jacksonville will continue to host this very special event that has meant so much not only to both universities, but also college football on a national level."

The two universities have played in Jacksonville every year since 1933 with the exception of 1994 and '95 when Alltel Stadium was being built.

The game has become an integral part of the city's sports identity and spawned its own subculture including a dedicated Hall of Fame and variety of festivities in the week preceding the match.

The City of Jacksonville estimates the economic impact of hosting the game to be between $25-30 million each year.

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