Getting some answers about the Dogs in the Dome

  There has been a lot of debate recently about the possibility of the Georgia Bulldogs playing a high-profile, non-conference football game in the Georgia Dome, perhaps as soon as 2010. I touched base yesterday with Atlanta Sports Council president Gary Stokan to find out what is happening on that front.

  Yes, the Sports Council and its television partner ESPN/ABC are looking for teams to play in a nationally televised early-season event at the Dome in 2010 and beyond.

  “We’re talking to a lot of people,” Stokan said. “We’ve reached out to everyone — from Southern Cal to UCLA to Texas to pretty much everybody in the ACC and SEC. We’re just trying to see what makes sense.”

  Yes, Georgia is one of those schools the Sports Council and ESPN/ABC have approached.

   “We’d like to think there’s an opportunity [with Georgia] for 2010 or ‘11 or ‘12 or ‘13,” Stokan said. “We’d like to have Georgia when it makes sense for Georgia. We don’t know when that’ll be, but we hope it’s one of those [years]. Georgia is a national brand, and we’d like to match [the Bulldogs] up with another national brand.”

   No, Georgia absolutely would not sacrifice one of six Sanford Stadium games in any year in order to play in the Georgia Dome and won’t be asked to do so.

  “First off, Damon [Evans, Georgia's AD] and Arthur [Johnson, associate AD] and Mark [Richt] wouldn’t be interested in playing less than six home games,” Stokan said.  ”We understand that. We know that.”

  Yes, Georgia might choose a game in the Dome over a more distant road trip.

  A plausible scenario, Stokan said, is that Georgia might play in the Dome in lieu of a non-conference road game some year. Last year, for example, Georgia played at Arizona State; this year, they will play at Oklahoma State. Those games fit on the Bulldogs’ schedule without cutting into six Sanford Stadium games each year.

   So Stokan thinks a game at the 72,000-seat Georgia Dome could make sense for the Bulldogs some year in lieu of a distant trip. He sees the game not as a replacement for a home game in 92,000-seat Sanford Stadium — but as a replacement for a road game to which UGA would get limited tickets.

   “If you matched Georgia against a team [from far away] that maybe would not need a lot of tickets, the majority of tickets in the Dome could go to take care of Georgia’s fans,” Stokan said. “And Georgia would not have a lot of expenses, so the game would become a windfall for them. We could take care of Georgia fans from a ticket standpoint and could take care of both schools financially.

   “Everyone wins. That’s the premise.”

  Stokan notes that Alabama and Clemson received $2.085 million apiece for playing in last year’s Chick-fil-A College Kickoff game at the Dome. (Of course, Georgia also has the option of generating  millions by dropping a road game and playing a seventh home game in Sanford Stadium.) This year’s College Kickoff game in the Dome will match Alabama vs. Virginia Tech. No one is lined up for 2010 or beyond. The search is on.

  So, with Georgia already committed to six games away from Athens in 2010, including a trip to Colorado, is that year really a possibility for a regular-season UGA game in Atlanta?

  “You try to work with schedules,” said Stokan, speaking in generalities. “Does something make sense where someone would move something back to allow something else to happen?”

  (He didn’t say this, but it’s no secret ESPN has a lot of influence  in college football scheduling.  Might the Colorado trip be moved to another year if a truly attractive Dome matchup presents itself to UGA? Well, when ESPN gets involved, just about anything is possible.)

   “We’ve got a lot of discussions going on,” Stokan said, “but nothing that is imminent or even close. It’s like a Rubik’s cube.”


   Separately, the Sports Council long has expressed interest in moving the Georgia-Florida game from Jacksonville to Atlanta on an occasional basis.

   Nothing new on that front, Stokan said.

   Yes, he’d like to bring the game to Atlanta one year out of four.  No, he says, there still haven’t been any substantive discussions or negotiations with UGA about the matter. But he hopes there will be at some point.


110 comments Add your comment


May 6th, 2009
7:22 am

No Dome, No Dome!!!


May 6th, 2009
7:25 am

I’d rather see the Dawgs playing in the Superdome in NOLA. Make it a true away game. The GA/FLA series should go back to playing at each other’s campuses.


May 6th, 2009
7:41 am

i see that there’s not much to write about today.

speculation about uga playing in the dome.

maybe tomorrow we can read about elvis sightings, the end of the world in 2012 or the lost city of atlantis.


May 6th, 2009
8:00 am

Why not have Georgia and Teach paly in the dome first game of the year?

Bill in Sandy Springs

May 6th, 2009
8:08 am

Because like FSU/Miami it would ruin the series

[...] AJC examines notion that Georgia may play one of its games in the Georgia Dome. [...]

[...] Comments Tim Tucker talks to Atlanta Sports Council president Gary Stokan about Georgia playing a high profile OOC game in the Georgia Dome in the near future.  Here’s the key part: “We’d like to think there’s an opportunity [...]


May 6th, 2009
8:30 am

As much as i love the GA/FLA game in Jax, lets look at 2010. Our “HOME” game is in Jacksonville, if not for this, then we would have the spot open to play the gators in Athens, and play a high profile opponent in the Dome.

You cant have it both ways guys, either take the FLA game to home/home or you will have the dilemma of having to turn down more chances for high profile opponents in the Dome or even opponents with a home/home in sake of tradition. Of course, when we do that, then the only home game we can get is New Mex State.


May 6th, 2009
8:39 am

How about we forget about the dome? If GA wants exposure in top recruiting areas that it doesn’t already have great exposure in, find a better venue. That means California, Texas or south Florida, for example. It DOESN’T mean Atlanta. The dome promoters want to line their own pockets. GA’s payoff will come later, from future recruits, and it will be a bigger payoff than what it would get from one game.

[...] AJC examines notion that Georgia may play one of its games in the Georgia Dome. [...]


May 6th, 2009
9:21 am

Get them to pay Colorado to come to Atlanta for the home game return. That scenario works for me.


May 6th, 2009
9:23 am

What intrasectional rival is going to play a road game in Athens and then have their home game in the Ga Dome? answer? Nobody.

Why would Georgia ever give up any home game, regardless of whether they had a 6 or 7 game home schedule since there is too much money involved and 20k more seats..answer? They never would.In the “move Colorado” scenario above, any replacement would still be best played in Athens, not the Dome. This isnt Birmingham.

Chiefdawg has it half right…we could always play GaTech in the Dome, BUT only if it is their home game, not ours. And Tech wont ever do that because they know the stands would be 75% UGA fans..

The Fla game? forget it..will never ever ever be played in the Dome. Maybe at some future point they may go to a rotation such as Jax/Athens/Jax/ Gainesville/Jax, etc. I hope they dont but that is the only possibility given the capacities.

So the morale of this story..the only way it will happen is if Ga plays there in a regularly scheduled road game (such as Tech, or maybe Clemson in 2013.)

Give it up Stokan!!!!


May 6th, 2009
9:33 am

I agree keep UGA vs GT at the end of the year. Don’t change it around like FSU vs Miami. I have no problem with playing GT in the Dome during their home years as long as UGA gets more tickets.


May 6th, 2009
9:35 am

How does bringing a team from across the country to ply in the Dome really help UGA in recruiting in that area? Just go to their stadium and beat them.

Pulpwood Smith

May 6th, 2009
10:13 am

We recently added New Mexico State in 2011 (we already play coastal carolina too that year). I have no interest in these home games against bantam weight teams, and would vastly rather play in the Dome against Texas or USC than travel to Athens to watch us beat New Mexico State 70-6.

Right On Time

May 6th, 2009
10:17 am


You must ALWAYS start his name with caps…it’s Elvis or ELVIS. A little respect, please. And, by the way, I saw him Sunday at the QT in Loganville.

Dome Discussion is Dead. There is no possible scenerio that would be a “win/win” for UGA to play in the Dome. In fact, lot’s of us are looking forward to the trip to Colorado. I enjoyed the trip to Arizona and I’m looking forward to more away game venues out of the southeast.

Now, to beat the dead horse that is the WLOCP… From an attendance standpoint, a home/home with fla would put @20,000 more butts in seats over a 2 year period. Both Sanford and benny hill are larger than Jax. I realize that this is one of those issues people are passionate about but sometimes we just have to be logical.


May 6th, 2009
10:49 am

It’s beyond obvious that many don’t understand the economics at work. Comments like I would “rather play Texas @ the Dome than play NMST in Athens” just don’t make economic sense. I understand the sentiment, but there is more to this than meets the eye. UGA rarely has a shot at 7 home games..check our Rivals, they play 7 and even 8 ALL the time at Home.

The UF game in Jax and having our instate rival NOT be in the SEC comes into play. This is why you will NOT see FU play teams like AZ STATE and OK STATE in home/home scenarios. They will NOT give up that home game.


May 6th, 2009
11:06 am

Until a new stadium is built in Atlanta (maybe at the old GM plant)that will hold 90-100,000 the Florida/GA game should stay in Jacksonville or start alternating between Gainesville and Athens. If it did start switching between Gainesville and Athens, it would be a blast for the fans and the two cities economy’s to keep the tickets split 50/50 and split the stadiums as in Jacksonville to maintain the great tradition of the game. Of course some of the big shot alumni of both schools would probably fight that.

The Dawg

May 6th, 2009
12:13 pm

Gatorman, your idea could be a good one but each school sells more than 50% of their seats to season ticket holders. Therefore, this 50/50 split would not work. For students and older fans alike, the trip to Jax is an opportunity to several days of golf, beaches (at times if weather is OK) and just a chance to get away and have a mini vacation.

As for New Mexico State, from what I understand it was sort of a last resort in order to get a home game. We seem to have run into this several times in recent years. Seems as though we aren’t looking far enough into the future.

As for the Dome – Stokan can push all he wants, but unless the idea of it being an “away” game for the Dogs, it makes no fiscal sense. If ESPN makes an offer to replace the million or so dollars difference, there is still the problem of satisfying our season ticket base as well as being fair to some attractive draw that also has a big following. There simply are not enough seats in all probability.

The press can push this “Dome” idea because it generates responses like mine, but the press cannot run everything like they would like to. With my click on this blog, and others like yours, they can get more ad revenue. Therefore I am guilty, but I have had my say.

Hunk Erdown

May 6th, 2009
12:21 pm

One of the positives of playing someone like Colo or Ariz St. is the exposure we get in that part of the Country, and hopefully some recruits from that region. It kinda negates that to then move the game to our backyard. We need to go out there to play other teams.

If we had a home and away with Bama and Bama wanted to play thier’s in the Dome then by all means…


May 6th, 2009
1:09 pm

I like TECH & UGA in the dome for the first game maybe once every 5 yrs so it rotates the Home team. UGA will not risk losing early in the season though. UGA should be 4-0 every year with their weak early schedule. UGA has always had 7 wins built into their schedule and risking playing TECH the first game scares the crap out of the DAWGS.

Urban Warfare

May 6th, 2009
1:12 pm

The big time schools like Georgia and Florida make way too much money and spend way too much money on their own elaborate stadiums to be sacrificing home games. I firmly believe that the UF/UGA game should remain in Jax because of it’s location for most all concerned and as that’s the only way to get a true 50/50 split of fans, although the Gators do love playing up in Atlanta in what we call the Swamp North!


May 6th, 2009
1:36 pm

Hmmm, I’m beginning to distinguish a pattern here: only the geniuses at tech want to play in the dome!


May 6th, 2009
1:58 pm

Not sure all the Bulldog Nation is seeing the big picture here…Nick Sabaan and other SEC/ACC coaches want to play here to help recruit Ga. talent…UGA care about that?!


May 6th, 2009
2:36 pm

Want more flexibility in the schedule?? Want to play that big time opponent and have the OPTION to go get a Texas, or Oklahoma, or USC, Michigan, ND???

If you werent playing your “home” game against FLA in Jacksonville in the name of “tradition” then you could do that….i love JAX, but it needs to be home/home in that series. otherwise its New Mex State instead of the big boys.


May 6th, 2009
2:38 pm

Ohh and while im on the subject of Jacksonville…do you think last years 2008 “home” game against the gators would have had Penn Wagers make those horrible calls if we were in Athens?? Just wondering.

country boy

May 6th, 2009
2:47 pm

Tech vs Clemson in the dome. Couldn’t they sell a few tickets between the two of them?


May 6th, 2009
2:54 pm


Johnny DangerDawg

May 6th, 2009
3:02 pm

Pi$$onaDAWG, you said:
“UGA will not risk losing early in the season though. UGA should be 4-0 every year with their weak early schedule. ”
Right, that’s why UGA’s 2009 first four games are South Carolina (who always plays us close), Oklahoma State (probably a preseason Top 10, unlike Ga Tech), Arkansas, and Arizona State. Look, UGA is not “scared” of playing a tough team at the beginning of the schedule. ESPN’s BCS analysts always point out, “If you lose a game, it’s best to lose early.” The reason why we don’t play Auburn or Florida at the beginning of the season is because the SEC tries to maintain schedule continuity every year for ALL conference games.


May 6th, 2009
3:07 pm

yes to playing in dome i repeat yes to playing in dome

Johnny DangerDawg

May 6th, 2009
3:07 pm

You are right about Bama, Clemson, etc. wanting to play in the Dome to recruit Atlanta talent. But Atlanta kids are already fully aware of UGA’s program. That’s why the Dawgs need a home and away series against one of the Texas or California schools, so we can go play in those states and recruit their kids.


May 6th, 2009
3:41 pm

And they let the Women’s Lingerie Football League team just leave town with no place to play for this?


May 6th, 2009
3:49 pm

It seems that the coverage of the debate dwarfs the actual debate about this dome idea.

I would like to have a UGA game on the 18th fairway of Indian Mound Golf Cource on Jekyll. Let’s see if we can give that idea a life of its own.

Urban Warfare

May 6th, 2009
4:15 pm

OMG! Now some Dawg fans (see dawgstephen) are suggesting that the officials were responsible for last years Florida BLOWOUT over Georgia!!! Now I have officially heard it all!!!!! That game could have been played in Ugas dog house and that wouldn’t have changed the outcome. Man, some of you fans paint the sky whatever color you want to see!!!

Georgia will buy another win

May 6th, 2009
4:23 pm

As far as Georgia playing a high profile team bet it just might be a high school team like Rockmart Yellow Jackets… Georgia too scared to play high profile schools like USC, Texas, Ohio State, Michigan…. So thump your chest Ga Fans tell everyone how tough your program is…pay another school a million bucks for a win. New Mexico State, what a joke enjoy watching the game on pay per view.

SoCal Dawg

May 6th, 2009
4:40 pm

Why don’t we free up our schedule and play the nerds once every 7 years. That’s about how often they show up to play anyway.


May 6th, 2009
4:58 pm

I don’t care about logistics, money, advantages or anything you guys listed. As a Texas graduate stuck in SEC country, I have your snobbery shoved down my throat all year long. I want the Horns to come into town and silence you fools. Plus, it may be close to 30 years late, but we’ve got some unfinished business with the Dawgs.



May 6th, 2009
5:06 pm

Michael, how ’bout Florida vs Texas in the Championship game?! That would be a hell of a game! Sorry, but you’re probably gonna have to wait another 30 years if you’re waiting for Georgia to show up!


May 6th, 2009
5:20 pm

I love it when our new neighbors from up North are so concerned about who The Dawgs play. The Yankee invasion is out in full force with suggestions like playing Fla home and home – to hell with tradition because it isn’t YOUR tradition is that how you see it noveau Georgia fans? – or Georgia is ’scared’ to play Ohio St and Mich, yeah, right, you just keep tooting that song when we all know Mich REFUSED a home and home opportunity with Georgia three years ago and instead put App St on the schedule, that worked out well didn’t it? Do you honestly believe the Big 10 wants a game with an SEC team? That ain’t happening boys and girls.

Here’s the plan the Atl Sports Council needs to pursue — in odd numbered years, when it’s Georgia Tech’s year to be the home team in the Georgia-Georgia Tech series, the game should be played in the Dome. It makes absolute perfect sense. The little third world stadium GT has down on North Ave seats 50,000, the Dome seats 72,000. The Dome is modern, restrooms with urinals and floors, concession stands, and seats from which you can see the entire field plus it’s indoors and has 22,000 more seats. Why not play the UGA-GT game in the Dome? GT has used the Dome for practice on occasion, why not suit up and use it as a home venue?

Come on Gary Stokan and the Atl Sports Council, you can have the best of both with the Dome hosting the Georgia-Georgia TEch game every other year on Thanksgiving weekend. Here’s the benefactor — proceeds from the 22,000 tickets goes to Scottish Rite. For those who don’t know it, back in the old days the Georgia and GT freshmen teams (before FR were varsity eligible) played a Thanksgiving game with all proceeds going to Scottish Rite. Who could possibly be opposed to 22,000 tickets at $50 each going to Scottish Rite, that’s $1.1 million to a great cause.


May 6th, 2009
5:31 pm

Urban Warfare, i wasnt suggesting that was the reason for the score. I was suggesting that considering the bad spot which was reviewed and still given the 1st down, the flagrant taunting on the 2nd play of the game (Spikes)(good hit) on Moreno, the WR pulling the DB down cause he couldnt outrun him on his own to catch the long TD pass, it may have been a little better than it was. Gators won, just not as easy as it would appear

Native Atlantan

May 6th, 2009
5:34 pm

It’s clear and obvious the people who critcize UGA’s schedule are idiots who cannot read or think. Look at the OOC schedule as well as the whole schedule and there will be very, very few teams with a schedule as difficult. Then look at your lousy teams schedule. Logic and reasoning is very difficult to explain to the inbreeds of Tech, UT and Florida.

Native Atlantan

May 6th, 2009
5:43 pm

Urban Warfare, yes, I think UF wins in Jax last year on any day. Not too many teams w/ a bunch of Frosh and Sophs on the OL with injuries aren’t going to win. Missing close FG’s won’t help either.

It was disappointing to see the bad spot in the 1Q when Tebow was stopped short on 4th down. Also, the ref missed an obvious hold on Rennie Curran that Gary Danielson of CBS immediately pointed out.

It was disappointing when Joe Hayden clearly grabbed AJ Green on the long INT return that was not called. Danielson of CBS pointed out this one as well.

It was disappointing when the UF WR yanked Asher Allen’s jersey on the next play and getting another easy TD thanks to cheating that was missed by the incompetent official. Yes, Gary Danielson of CBS saw this one too.

How is it that the CBS analyst who is 500 feet away from the play can see the violations immediately, but the host of stripped dishonest clowns on the field mysteriously miss them? Don’t have a problem with losing….got a big problem with dishonesty by officials. You can’t be that bad, but you can be that dishonest.


May 6th, 2009
5:50 pm

Great idea!!Tech can bring their 38,000 and we can bring the rest. Paying $50 for a ticket to Grant Field would be hard to swallow. But going to the Dome and helping Scottish Rite would be worth the price. Has anyone said what pj thinks about playing in the dome?

Saint Simons

May 6th, 2009
6:31 pm

would love to see uga play usc! but want happen uga loves to play cupcakes! 45-42!!!! hahahahahahahahahah

Native Atlantan

May 6th, 2009
6:33 pm

Yep Saint Simons, one out of eight. Time to brag.


May 6th, 2009
7:04 pm

Positively NO! UGA does not need this. They have a premier facility within range, and i am sure the cameras will follow them wherever they go. Why give up the surroundings of Sanford to simply satisfy a few TV executives? UGA makes their fare share, no need to try and “spread the brand” in your own backyard. The Dawgs are…. well, the DAWGS!


Joe Friday

May 6th, 2009
7:04 pm

I have heard there is trouble in Athens and possibly three football players may be disciplined with loss of playing time. I know the AJC stays on top of that aspect of sports, so will ask for a confirmation or denial please. If so, they’ll have something to talk about for weeks. Also if so, please set up a site so we can keep it in perspective with all the other schools.
Thanks and GO DAWGS!


May 6th, 2009
8:53 pm

UGA vs SoCal in one of the domes of the Canadian Football league. That would do it.


May 6th, 2009
9:10 pm

KNelson, did you go look up who your team plays yet? I know a couple of real TN fans, if you need me to ask them for you. Or you could just make it up, that’s sort of been working for you so far.


May 6th, 2009
10:35 pm

We should play in the GA Dome every year…right around the first Saturday in December.