When No. 13 Georgia and No. 19 North Carolina meet for the first time in more than 40 years in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, it will be in front of a sold out crowd.
Peach Bowl, Inc. and university officials today announced that both teams have sold through their allotments and that no tickets remain for public sale. The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is the first opening weekend neutral-site game to sell out this year.
“With two nationally ranked programs, both with incredibly high expectations for the season, facing off for the first time in decades on a national stage, we knew this match up would sell out,” said Gary Stokan, Peach Bowl, Inc. president and CEO. “This matchup is exactly what the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is all about – showcasing the nation’s top teams on a national stage.”
The game between the Bulldogs and the Tar Heels is set for Saturday, Sept. 3 at 5:30 p.m. EST in the Georgia Dome, and will be nationally televised on ESPN. The teams have met 30 times since 1895, the last contest a 7-3 Georgia victory in 1971. Overall, the Bulldogs hold a 16-12-2 advantage over the Tar Heels.
Both teams have high expectations returning a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball. Georgia, under first-year head coach Kirby Smart, returns eight starters on offense and six on defense. Not included in those figures is All-American running back Nick Chubb, who is returning from a mid-season knee injury. North Carolina returns seven offensive starters and six defensive starters from an 11-win campaign and looks to defend its ACC Coastal Division title.
“The Georgia Dome is one of the country’s most exciting venues and we are looking forward to playing before a sold out crowd,” said Georgia Head Coach Kirby Smart. “I know the Georgia fans will be there in great numbers to support the Bulldogs and celebrate the kickoff of the season against a great North Carolina team. This will be one of the premier games of the day with national attention focused on the Georgia Dome and the two competing teams. We are appreciative of the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game staff and city of Atlanta which has created such a first-class event.”
“We’re looking forward to opening the season in a sold out Georgia Dome against an outstanding program in Georgia,” said North Carolina Head Coach Larry Fedora. “Our players have been working hard this offseason to prepare for what will surely be an incredible opportunity on a national stage.”
This will be the second appearance for both teams in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game. North Carolina last opened its season in Atlanta against LSU in 2010, while Georgia played Boise State in the 2011 edition of the game.
The nation’s longest-running kickoff game, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has now sold out eight of its 11 matchups. The game averages 66,869 fans per game – higher than more than 30 bowl games from last year – and has an average payout of $4.7 million which is higher than 26 bowl games last year. Television viewership is also traditionally strong with more than 40 million viewers tuning in to the series since 2008.
The teams will battle for The Old Leather Helmet, one of college football’s newest iconic trophies. Traditionally, winners of The Old Leather Helmet don the helmet on the field after the game, starting with the head coach and then rotating from player to player as the team celebrates its victory.
Past and future Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game matchups include:
Year: Match-Up: Winner:
2008 #9 Clemson vs. #24 Alabama Alabama 34-10
2009 #5 Alabama vs. #7 Virginia Tech Alabama 34-24
2010 #16 LSU vs. #18 North Carolina LSU 30-24
2011 #5 Boise State vs. #19 Georgia Boise State 35-21
2012 #25 NC State vs. Tennessee Tennessee 35-21
2012 #14 Clemson vs. #24 Auburn Clemson 26-19
2013 #1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech Alabama 35-10
2014 #18 Ole Miss vs. Boise State Ole Miss 35-13
2014 #2 Alabama vs. West Virginia Alabama 33-23
2015 #25 Louisville vs. #6 Auburn Auburn 31-24
2016 #13 Georgia vs. #19 North Carolina
2017 Alabama vs. Florida State
2017 Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee
Ticket packages through PrimeSport remain available
Despite ticket allotments being sold out, fans looking to get to the game still have great options available from PrimeSport, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game’s Official Ticket Exchange and VIP Hospitality provider.