Game day goes high end in Jacksonville

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ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia and Florida won’t be playing in the BCS national title game this year, but fans coming to Jacksonville, Fla., who want to splurge can live it up like those in Pasadena, Calif., will.

Georgia fans attending the game against the Gators in Jacksonville, Fla., could have access to a deluxe "club" with three stories of bars, a buffet, a Jumbotron and other amenities - ticket not included.  FILE/ASSOCIATED PRESS
Georgia fans attending the game against the Gators in Jacksonville, Fla., could have access to a deluxe "club" with three stories of bars, a buffet, a Jumbotron and other amenities - ticket not included.

The PlayMakers’ Club is a new high-end way to have fun at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party. For $250 a pop, you get access to three stories of open bars; a buffet with pulled pork, beef brisket sliders and silver-dollar crab cakes; multiple LED TVs; a Jumbotron; Wi-Fi, private restrooms and cellular charging stations.

That’s without a ticket to the game. A ticket and hospitality package listed online this week offered prices ranging from $500 to $1,500.

The “club,” run by sports marketing company IMG College with a target audience of corporate clients, will operate Saturday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. in Jacksonville. A shuttle service will run from a parking garage to the stadium. The club will be outside Gate 4 at EverBank Field.

Atlanta attorney Chris Parker and his wife are going with two other couples, including three rabid Georgia fans and a lifelong Gator. It’s his first Georgia-Florida game. He said he acquired tickets for the game for about $150 each.

About 250 people are expected at the PlayMakers’ Club, according to Kelli Hilliard, IMG College’s senior vice president for events, entertainment and development.

There will also be PlayMaker’s Clubs at the Rose Bowl and BCS national title game in Pasadena, but this is the first.

“Given that it’s on a neutral kind of location, I think that was part of what played into the fact that we actually knew the teams that would be playing and that helped with our marketing efforts,” Hilliard said. “We definitely wanted to choose a game where there was already the passion and pageantry behind not just the game, but the celebration of the game. … It is one of the greatest all-time rivalry games. That really played into it.”

Hilliard said it’s a “diverse” clientele that includes fans from both schools, guests of the mayor of Jack­son­ville, athletic officials from both schools and corporate sponsors.

“To me if you’re going to go down there, you either have an RV or you’ve got to find something like this,” Parker said. “I’m not one to do the full-on RV thing. It’s all freaking day, all-you-can-eat and drink, TVs everywhere. People coming in and out and it’s right next to the stadium.”

Former Georgia football players Matt Stinchcomb and Kevin Butler are part of a celebrity list that will be appearing at the club along with former Jacksonville Jaguars, including Tony Boselli and Mike Hollis. Former CBS and ESPN reporter Bonnie Bernstein will be streaming live online for Campus Insiders from the PlayMaker’s Club on game day. Singer Todd Samson will perform and school cheerleaders will appear.

The club is created out of decommissioned shipping containers in a portable structure for an area that will be 68 by 80 feet and will include a courtyard area. It was being completed in Charlotte, N.C., last week and transported to Jacksonville.

Georgia season ticket holders needed to have pledged at least $10,261 cumulatively to be able to purchase tickets for the Florida game, according to the school. The school’s allotment this year is 39,754 tickets.

The Georgia-Florida tickets are $60 for regular seating and $100 for club seats. Georgia has about 5,000 club seats which include prime sideline yardage and access to club amenities in a climate controlled lounge with TVs, restrooms and high-end concessions.

“If you’re not an alumnus with access to skyboxes and everything else,” Parker said, “this is kind of the common man’s skybox.”


• Mississippi State at South Carolina, 12:21 p.m.
(CBS-Ch. 12)

• S.C. State at Savannah State, 1 (No TV)

• Furman at Georgia Southern, 1 (No TV)

• Florida vs. Georgia, 3:30 (CBS-Ch. 12)

• Clemson at Virginia, 3:30 (ESPN)

• Pittsburgh at Georgia Tech, 7 (ESPNU)

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Just My Opinion
Just My Opinion 10/29/13 - 03:24 pm
What a joke! Sorry, but you

What a joke! Sorry, but you can find EVERYTHING that those guys are selling for $250 in the parking lots around the stadium! Everything. It's all about the money, and THAT is a lot of money for "the common man"! I'm not kidding when I say you can find all that in the parking lots...PLENTY of foods, drinks, satellite televisions of every size, bathrooms (well, a por-ta-let is a bathroom!), Wi-Fi, charging stations (in cars/trucks/RVs). And I can pretty much guarantee you that most of the tailgates around the stadium would be happy to share what they have with long as you're the right mascot/school persuasion!
I've been down to the game many, many, many times. I think it's a pretty safe bet that there are almost as many people outside the stadium as there are inside the stadium during the game.
The people who would think this PlayMaker Club thing is worthwhile are the folks who don't want to go to the trouble of tailgating/cooking/cleaning/entertaining, and the people who have more money than they have sense! Remember...we're talking $250 a PERSON! And this is the first time these folks have put on one of these things, which means they don't have the bugs/complaints worked out yet.
As for me, I'll see all my rowdy "common" Dawg friends in the parking lot and then in the stadium!!

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