Atlanta, GA – 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. 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 Tar Heels set more than 60 team and individual records last year and return playmakers Elijah Hood at running back, Mack Hollins, Ryan Switzer and Bug Howard at wide receiver and four of its five starters on the offensive line.
“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.”
Georgia, under first-year head coach Kirby Smart, returns eight starters on offense and six on defense.
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:
2008 #9 Clemson vs. #24 Alabama
2009 #5 Alabama vs. #7 Virginia Tech
2010 #16 LSU vs. #18 North Carolina
2011 #5 Boise State vs. #19 Georgia
2012 #25 NC State vs. Tennessee
2012 #14 Clemson vs. #24 Auburn
2013 #1 Alabama vs. Virginia Tech
2014 #18 Ole Miss vs. Boise State
2014 #2 Alabama vs. West Virginia
2015 #25 Louisville vs. #6 Auburn
2016 #13 Georgia vs. #19 North Carolina
2017 Alabama vs. Florida State
2017 Georgia Tech vs. Tennessee
About the Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game
Created in 2008 by Peach Bowl, Inc., the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is a bowl-style, neutral-site game featuring two elite football programs and has been nationally televised on the first Saturday of the college football season since its inception. The game has hosted teams with national rankings of No. 1, No. 2, 5 (twice), 6, 7, 9, 14, 16, 18 (twice), 19, 24 (twice) and 25 (twice). The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game boasts an average attendance of 66,869, has been watched on television by 43.9 million viewers, and has distributed $44.7 million in total team payouts. For more information, visit Chick-fil-AKickoffGame.