Fans are pouring into Atlanta for this weekend’s Southeastern Conference Championship game between Auburn and Missouri. Traveling to the city for the title game in the Georgia Dome has been a tradition for college football fans for more than a decade.
The SEC title game has been held at the Georgia Dome since 1994. The current contract with the SEC means the conference will hold its football championship in Atlanta through 2017.
But the Dome is slated for demolition that year. If the SEC championship remains in the city, the 2017 game would have to move to the newly completed Falcons Stadium.
Dan Corso of the Atlanta Sports Council said the Falcons will handle negotiating with the SEC to continue hosting the Championship.
“We at the Atlanta Sports Council will be supportive of any effort that’s made to keep that event here,” said Corso. “The Southeastern Conference Championship is not only wonderful for the region economically, but there’s a real sense of pride I think and a great shot to the quality of life that we have here in Atlanta by hosting this event.”
SEC Football Communications Director Chuck Dunlap said the host contract is for the city, not the venue. Dunlap said moving to a new stadium probably won’t mean moving the game to a new city.
“You’ve got the Hall of Fame coming. Atlanta is just kind of becoming a central hub for college football and specifically SEC football and we’re proud to be a part of that and look forward to the future of that.”
Dunlap said the conference will likely start negotiating with the Falcons in 2015 to draw up a new contract for the SEC title game.
According to the Atlanta Sports Council, the SEC Championship brings in about $30 million into the area each year.