Home Atlanta News SEC title game remains one of the city’s best annually attractions

SEC title game remains one of the city’s best annually attractions

by Atlanta Business Journal

The traffic on Marietta Street snaked its way onto Centennial Olympic Park Drive at a snail’s pace. The Southeastern Conference (SEC) championship game, arguably the most important college football game that isn’t Michigan/Ohio State or the annual college football national championship game, was back in town and thus so were thousands of college football fans.

Former SEC quarterbacks, Eli Manning (far left), Archie Manning (third from left) and Peyton Manning (far right) were some of the conference legends that fans hope to see at the SEC championship game every year. Photo by Itoro Umontuen/The Atlanta Voice

This year’s attendance was 74,810.

The average ticket price just after kickoff was selling for just over $200, according to mobile-focussed ticket selling platform Seat Geek.

Downtown hotels were inundated with guests over the weekend (the Atlanta Falcons are hosting the Pittsburgh Steelers Sunday), which helped propel the average room costs to over $200-per-night, according to online travel agency Kayak.com

Last year’s game -when the University of Alabama defeated the University of Georgia 41-29 (the two teams would meet in the national championship game and the opposite result would take place) – saw a record-setting 78,030 fans attend the game. A year after Covid-19 would only allow for 16,500 fans to attend the game between Alabama and the University of Florida. The previous record of 77,141 was set in 2019 during another affair between Alabama and Georgia.

Three generations of a family made their way into Mercedes-Benz Stadium to support the University of Georgia during the SEC Championship game, Saturday, December 3, 2022. The annual affair attracts an average of 75,000 fans.
Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

The best attended annual Atlanta attraction, the SEC championship game has the rare opportunity to have a local team, in this case the reigning national champion University of Georgia Bulldogs, have made consecutive trips. (Georgia has also made four of the past five SEC championship games) Those trips keep hotels, bars, restaurants, malls and stores full through the weekend. Though only one game, the SEC championship is an economic engine unto itself.

A block away from the College Football Hall of Fame and only feet from State Farm Arena, home of the Atlanta Hawks, Mercedes-Benz Stadium has been the site for the game the past few years. That allows for more fans to attend the game than if it were held at any other venue in the state, and for that matter the southeast.

The SEC championship game, no matter what teams are competing for the coveted title, has averaged over 75,000 fans per game the past few years, with the exception of 2020 due to Covid.
Photo by Donnell Suggs/The Atlanta Voice

Mercedes-Benz Stadium will also be the host site for the 2026 World Cup matches being played in Atlanta. There is very little doubt that there will be another Super Bowl taking place in Atlanta before the decade closes. There’s a chance more than 80,000 fans will be in attendance when either of those events take place, but until then the SEC championship game holds the title for the best annual attraction this city has to offer.

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