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World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party moving indoors?

GAINESVILLE -- The World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party might be moving indoors. The Atlanta Sports Council in interested in hosting the annual Florida-Georgia football game once every four years, according to Gary Stokan, the council's president.

Stokan has had preliminary discussions with Georgia athletics director Damon Evans and Georgia football coach Mark Richt about moving the game to the Georgia Dome once every four years. According to Stokan, Georgia owns the rights to two of the games every four years. The current four-year contract ends after the 2010 football game.

"We think asking for one of the four games isn't too much," Stokan said in a phone interview on Friday morning. "Having one of the two games [Georgia] owns moving to Atlanta -- we think it would increase the mystique and rivalry of the game."

Boats Jacksville Municipal Stadium has hosted the Florida-Georgia game every year since 1933 except for 1994 and 1995 when the stadium was being renovated for the Jacksonville Jaguars. The first Florida-Georgia game was held in Jacksonville in 1915.

[But where do you park the party boats in downtown Atlanta?]

Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, located on the shores of the St. John's river, is considered a neutral field for the rivalry game. Tickets are split evenly between schools every year. Jacksonville is 73 miles away from Gainesville compared to 342 miles away from Athens, Ga., where the University of Georgia is located. Atlanta's Georgia Dome is about 72 miles from Athens.

Bids have not been made for the next four-year contract but Stokan said he has spoken with Georgia's athletics director about preparing a proposal. Nothing is finalized, according to Stokan, and more negotiating will be needed before a bid is made. Stokan said schools would be compensated for any loss in ticket sales. Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, current host of the football game, seats 84,000. The Georgia Dome, which currently hosts the SEC football championship game, seats 71,228.

Thoughts, anyone? Personally, I say the heck with the neutral field. Just play the games in the teams' home stadiums.

-jo-

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