For the first decade-plus of the SEC Championship game, there weren’t many other alternatives to Atlanta. The only other SEC town with a dome was New Orleans, and playing on an outdoor field in Nashville or even Jacksonville wasn’t much of an option.
That changed with the SEC’s addition of Texas A&M and Missouri. Three more cities – St. Louis, Houston, and of course Dallas – within the SEC footprint had domed stadiums with experience hosting major sporting events. You’d expect a little more competition for the conference’s best event.
It’s significant then that the SEC announced this week that Atlanta would remain the host through at least 2026. The championship game will remain at the Georgia Dome through 2016 and move to the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium for 2017 and beyond.
The presence of the game in Atlanta has coincided with the rise of SEC football as an athletic and economic powerhouse, and the game hasn’t been so bad for those of us here in Georgia either:
As reported by the GWCCA, the economic impact of the SEC Football Championship Game to the State of Georgia since 1999 is estimated at more than one billion dollars.