ATHENS ― Middle Tennessee and Austin Peay aren’t marquee names in football, but scheduling such nonconference opponents to play at Sanford Stadium still costs a lot of money.
Georgia will pay Middle Tennessee $1.7 million and Austin Peay $500,000 for their trips to play in Athens in 2018, according to game contracts provided by UGA.
Austin Peay, an FCS school, will meet Georgia in the season opener on Sept. 1. Middle Tennessee, a member of Conference USA, will visit Sept. 15.
The matchups were announced by the school several months ago.
Middle Tennessee also will receive $1.2 million to play at Kentucky in 2018.
The cost of scheduling nonconference teams has been rising for years. Georgia is scheduled to pay Arkansas State $1.8 million to visit in 2019 ― the most yet that UGA has paid another school. With teams in each of the Power 5 conferences needing to fill three or four nonconference slots each season, the bidding has led to more lucrative payouts to the other teams, especially those in the other FBS conferences.
Georgia will host four nonconference teams in 2018. The others are UMass (Nov. 17) and Georgia Tech (Nov. 24). There will be three SEC home games, giving Georgia seven home games in 2018 and six this year.
UMass will come to Georgia as part of a $1.5 million deal in which UGA agreed to also play a home-and-home series in basketball. The Bulldogs basketball team will travel to Amherst, Mass., in the 2017-18 season; the Minutemen will play at Stegeman Coliseum during the 2018-19 season.