Georgia and Florida won’t be playing in the BCS national title game this season, but fans coming to Jacksonville, Fla., who want to splurge can live it up like those in Pasadena, Calif., will.
The PlayMakers’ Club is a new high-end way to party at the World’s Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party.
For $250 a pop, you get access to three stories of open bars, a buffet that includes offerings such as pulled pork and 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 located outside of 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, after finding out about it on the Internet. It’s his first Georgia-Florida game.
“This seems to be a great way to do it,” said Parker. “It was kind of on my bucket list of games that you’ve got to go.”
Parker calls himself a “college football nomad.” He grew up in Norman, Okla., has degrees from Ohio State and married an “LSU girl.” He said he acquired tickets for the game for about $150
“I’ve been to Ohio State-Michigan and OU-Texas and a bunch of LSU rivalry games as well,” said Parker who’s attended Georgia-Georgia Tech games in Atlanta.
About 250 are expected at the PlayMakers’ Club, according to Kelli Hilliard, IMG College’s senior vice president for events, entertainment and development.
“It’s taking your traditional tailgating to kind of a different level,” said Hilliard.
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.”
Georgia’s alumni association’s Twitter handle promoted the club on Monday, and Florida’s alumni association sent out an email on Monday.
Hilliard said it’s a “diverse” clientele that includes fans from both schools, guests of the mayor of Jacksonville, various athletic officials from both schools as well as 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.”