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Florida city wins bid for '05, '06 games

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Atlantic Coast Conference chose
Jacksonville on Thursday to host its first two championship games.

The first game will be played Dec. 3, 2005, at Alltel Stadium,
and is expected to earn the revamped conference about $6 million.

The ACC added the game as part of its expansion to 12 teams;
Miami and Virginia Tech are joining the conference this year, and
Boston College will join next year.

The conference has the option to renew the contract for another
two years, ACC commissioner John Swofford said in a teleconference
from Greensboro, N.C.

"Alltel Stadium and the city of Jacksonville will provide our
schools with not only an outstanding facility in which to play but
also an enthusiastic community that has always embraced college
football," Swofford said.

ACC faculty representatives unanimously chose Jacksonville over
Charlotte, N.C., in a telephone conference call Thursday morning.

Swofford refused to discuss the amount of money pledged by
Jacksonville. He said the city's financial bid, its sports
facilities and its long association with the ACC and the Gator Bowl
were factors in the decision. The Gator Bowl typically hosts an ACC
team for its New Year's Day game.

Jacksonville Mayor John Peyton accepted the offer on behalf of
the city. He estimated the game will put $50 million in the city
economy because of out-of-town guests staying at hotels and eating
at restaurants.

"We have always had a special spot in our hearts for college
football, as any Gator Bowl or Florida-Georgia participant can tell
you," Peyton said. "We will give a warm welcome to the fans, and
we look forward to working with the ACC and the Gator Bowl
Association to build another great football tradition here."

The Gator Bowl Association will run the game for the city, which
is not charging the ACC for use of Alltel Stadium.

Peyton said getting a Super Bowl and regularly hosting NFL and
college football games proves that Jacksonville knows how to put on
a big event.

The ACC title-game winner earns a spot in the Bowl Championship
Series.

Gator Bowl president Rick Catlett said the decision came down to
stadium size. Charlotte's stadium is privately owned and seats
about 73,000. Alltel Stadium is owned by the city and seats 77,497.

Catlett sweetened the city's initial bid by guaranteeing a
sellout. Based on the number of seats and league-established ticket
prices, the financial guarantee is $5.9 million, compared with $5.3
million.