Georgia Tech opened its 2017 season against Tennessee on Monday, Sept. 4, 2017, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com
Photo: Hyosub Shin/hshin@ajc.com

How the Georgia Tech-Clemson Chick-fil-A Kickoff game came together

Georgia Tech’s participation in the 2022 Chick-fil-A Kickoff game against Clemson — part of the school’s five-game series at Mercedes-Benz Stadium — was the end result of the athletic department’s objective to play in the game a second time, Peach Bowl CEO Gary Stokan told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Stokan recalled that it was “probably summertime last year” when Tech reached out to the Peach Bowl about the possibility of playing in the kickoff game. The Yellow Jackets made their first appearance in 2017, a double-overtime loss to Tennessee.

“They had really enjoyed, other than not winning, the Tennessee experience,” Stokan said.

Stokan has continually sought to have Tech and Georgia play in the game as a way of supporting the state’s two prominent teams and because of their ticket-purchasing power. (Georgia, in fact, will share the kickoff weekend with Tech. The Bulldogs will play Oregon on Sept. 3, two days before the Jackets and Tigers meet.)

“I told the ACC and told Georgia Tech, whenever it makes sense for us to host you,” Stokan said.

Future Chick-fil-A Kickoff matchups

Tech was not necessarily seeking to play in 2022 or against Clemson, but that was what made sense for both Tech and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff, which has put on the annual game since 2008. It ended up fitting into Tech’s five-game package at MBS.

As it will be a home game for Tech, the financial arrangement will be different than it would be for the usual kickoff game, which is normally a neutral-site game. Tech will be given control of most of the tickets for the game in the 71,000-seat stadium, and then will be due a payout after selling that allotment. As the visiting team for an ACC game, Clemson will receive 4,300 tickets. Game organizers will take a portion. Tech will have the rest.

For the 2017 game against Tennessee, Tech was given control of 30,000 tickets and its payout for selling those tickets was $2.85 million. With far more tickets to sell, the payout stands to be considerably larger. Tech makes about $3 million for an average home game.

The game will be the first Chick-fil-A Kickoff game that will be between conference members. Ten of the 14 games played to this date have been ACC-SEC matchups.

The arrangement for the four other games at MBS is more straightforward. Tech will rent the building and will collect all ticket sales.

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