College football’s opening weekend pits the nation’s premier programs against each other in resume-boosting, College Football Playoff-shifting games right out of the gate. Last season, it was Auburn beating Washington in the annual Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. Next year, the game held in Atlanta, Georgia pits the Alabama Crimson Tide and Duke Blue Devils in a SEC versus ACC showdown that definitely favors one team. I’ll let you figure out which one that is.
In 2024, though, two of the most storied and powerful teams in the country are set to meet. The Clemson Tigers and Georgia Bulldogs — two programs that show no signs of slowing down anytime soon — will meet at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on opening weekend. How much money will those teams make for a game of that magnitude? To put it mildly: it’s insane.
According to open records requests submitted to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, both schools will make at least $5 million for just one game. For each school to make that money, they have to sell at least 28,500 tickets for the event to receive the “guaranteed payment” of either $5 million or 80 percent of ticket revenue, “whichever is greater,” according to the agreement with Peach Bowl, Inc.
With a capacity of 71,000 seats inside Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and the sheer magnitude that both these fan bases will bring to support head coach Dabo Swinney and Kirby Smart’s programs, they’re likely to make more than the standard $5 million cut for the neutral site game to start the 2024 football season.
“To play a great opponent like the University of Georgia in a first-class venue like Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be an outstanding experience for our football team and fans. The resumption of our storied rivalry with Georgia has been a high priority for us and will continue to be a high priority moving forward.”
— Clemson Director of Athletics Dan Radakovich, via GeorgiaDogs.com
The University of Georgia dominates the all-time Clemson-Georgia rivalry holding a 42-18-4 advantage. That included a run of 10-consecutive wins between 1920 and 1954 that started with a 55-0 rout back in 1920.
The Bulldogs and Tigers have met only four times this century, with Mark Richt’s team winning the last matchup of a home-and-home series in 2014 on the legs of Georgia running back Todd Gurley, who ran for 198 yards and scored four times, which included an electric 100-yard kickoff return.
These teams will battle with the opportunity to bring home The Old Leather Helmet, one of the newest trophies in college football, which is given annually to the winner of the game. Here are the matchups set for the annual season-opening clash while the college football world awaits Clemson-Georgia:
2019: Alabama vs Duke (Aug. 31)
2020: Florida State vs. West Virginia (Sept. 5)
2020: Georgia vs. Virginia (Sept. 7)
2020: North Carolina vs. Auburn (Sept. 12)
2021: Alabama vs. Miami (Date TBD)
2021: Louisville vs. Ole Miss (Date TBD)
2022: Georgia vs. Oregon (Date TBD)
Collegiate superstars Trevor Lawrence, Travis Etienne, Jake Fromm and D’Andre Swift will be long gone when 2024 rolls around, but you can guarantee that these two programs will still be operating at full-throttle. We’re a long ways away from this matchup, but with postseason implications, bragging rights, and a couple million dollars on the table, this will be can’t-miss television down in Atlanta.