The World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party Could Experience Major Change Rarely Seen In 100+ Year History

A view from outside of TIAA Bank Field in Jacksonville, Florida.


A major change could be coming to the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. The annual rivalry between the Georgia Bulldogs and the SEC rival Florida Gators has been played at a neutral site every meeting since 1933, with only two expections.

Construction to TIAA Bank Field could force the two foes to play on campus in the coming years, though. Fans have been quick to comment on the potential breaking of this college football tradition.

The ‘Dawgs and Gators have played in Jacksonville for nearly a century, with the overwhelming majority of the rivalry having been held at a neutral site.

According to Wikipedia, Florida’s home stadium, Fleming Field, was too small to host large opponents at the start of the rivalry. That led to meetings in Jacksonville, Tampa, Savannah, Macon, and Athens.

The Gators built Florida Field in 1930, hosting the Bulldogs for the first time the following year, though that didn’t last long.

In 1933, the foes were back in Jacksonville, where the rivalry would stay with the exception of the 1994 and 1995 meetings. Those two matchups were held on campus due to stadium renovations for the NFL introduction of the Jacksonville Jaguars.

According to The Athletic, a similar change could soon be coming.

Florida Gators AD Scott Stricklin told the site that TIAA Stadium could be unavailable in 2026 and 2027. Jacksonville’s mayor said the 2025 and 2026 seasons could also be an option for the construction.

The easiest solution should the venue be unavailable would be to play a home-and-home series.

Fans were quick to comment on the potential move, posting replies on social media.

Some are happy to see a change.

Some even believe it should be permanent.

Others, though, would like to see it remain at a neutral site.

This has been a topic of discussion before these renovation announcements. Georgia’s Kirby Smart has previously commented on the perks and drawbacks of playing Florida in Jacksonville each year.

“There’s really quality benefits to both. … I enjoy the pageantry of going down there and playing. I enjoyed playing there as a player, I enjoy tradition”, Smart said about the benefits of a neutral site game. He also noted that the schools can make more money at the Jacksonville location.

But he believes playing on campus would be best for recruiting. “When it comes down to it, there’s a very, very basic element of everything comes back to — No. 1 money and No. 2 recruiting and getting good players. I firmly believe that we’ll be able to sign better players by having it as a home-and-home because we’ll have more opportunities to get them to campus.”

We’ll see if the two are forced into the home-and-home series over the next few years, and whether it’s a change that sticks.