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Jeff Sentell / DawgNation
Georgia fans are expected to be outnumbered at this year's rivalry game in Jacksonville.

Georgia-Florida ticket data: Gators projected to own 60-40 majority at Jacksonville site

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Coach Dan Mullen says every game his team plays in the state of Florida is a home game, and the numbers for this year’s game with Georgia in Jacksonville back him up.

“We’re the University of Florida, if we play in the state, it’s a home game,” Mullen told GatorSports.com.

A vividseats.com spokesperson said ticket data indicates Florida fans will make up 60 percent of the crowd at TIAA Bank Field when the teams kick off at 3:30 p.m. on Saturday in their annual rivalry game.

“We have a bunch of fans come out there to that game, and we’re just right down the road,” Florida QB Feliepe Franks said at SEC Media Days. “It feels just like a home game running out there with all the Florida fans, so it’s an awesome feeling.”

The average ticket price for this season’s game is $246, up from $168 last season and $136 in 2017, per the VividSeats.com release.

The ticket allocation is split 50-50, but secondary markets allow for resale.

It’s fair to say Bulldogs fans have not been happy with their No. 8-ranked team of late. Georgia was booed as it left the field at halftime in its most recent outing, a 21-0 win on a cold, windy and rainy night at Sanford Stadium in Athens.

Tailback D’Andre Swift stuck up for his coaches, saying if fans didn’t like the Bulldogs’ style of play, they didn’t need to come to the games.

Georgia fans traveled impressively to the season-opening game in Nashville, a 30-6 win at Vanderbilt, and again for a 43-14 win over Tennessee where they made up roughly one-third of the crowd in Knoxville.

Part of Florida taking over TIAA Bank Field could involve the Gators attaining their highest rank, at No. 6, since 2012.

Florida fans are willing to pay more and many are in closer vicinity to the game than the UGA fans based in metro Atlanta and Athens.

Gainesville is 70 miles from Jacksonville, while Athens is approximately 340 miles.

It’s a more expensive and lengthy trip for Georgia students and fans based in the schools’ most concentrated areas.

The Bulldogs’ administrators, however, recently agreed to a two-year extension of the game being played in Florida (through 2023), even as coach Kirby Smart expressed concerns over the recruiting disadvantage it places on the football program.

“It costs you a recruiting weekend, you don’t get to have anybody, they don’t get to have anybody,” Smart said. “So our version of the LSU-Alabama game is held in Jacksonville and we don’t have prospects. So it’s not conducive to recruiting.”

Georgia’s anticipated drop-off at the Jacksonville game might also have to do with the fact that now that there’s a SEC Championship Game and College Football Playoff.

When the teams starting playing in Jacksonville in 1933, there was no SEC Championship Game or College Football Playoff, and there were considerably less bowl games available.

The Bulldogs have had great success the past two seasons with trips to the SEC Championship, the Rose Bowl, the College Football Playoff Championship Game and The Sugar Bowl.

Smart, who played in the Florida rivalry game while a player at Georgia, said he has great memories of Jacksonville, but it’s not a typical college setting.

“You have a weird feeling in there sometimes,” Smart said. “The times I’ve played in it and coached in it, it was more flat in warmups then, all of a sudden, boom, you come out for the game and everybody is in their seat.

“They come in there at the same time as opposed to being in there early.”

The fans that do make the annual trip to Jacksonville for the game love it, even if there will be fewer of them at the game this season, per the ticket data.

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