SBD/December 31, 2012/Facilities

College Football HOF Closes Doors In South Bend After 17 Years; On To Atlanta

Sunday marked the College Football HOF's final day in South Bend, Ind., before it moves to Atlanta, and HOF officials estimated that "more than 4,000 visitors passed through the doors over the weekend," according to May Lee Johnson of the SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE. The HOF charged "only $2" for admittance. The National Football Foundation three years ago announced it would move the HOF to Atlanta after "failing to draw the crowds expected" when it moved the facility from Kings Mill, Ohio to South Bend in '95. The original plan called for the HOF to open in Atlanta in '12, but "because of funding setbacks, it is now expected to open in 2014." All weekend proceeds from admissions and gift shop sales will "benefit the football programs at the four South Bend public high schools as well as St. Joseph High School" (SOUTH BEND TRIBUNE, 12/31). In South Bend, Rachel Lake noted "money trouble plagued the facility almost from the get go." When it was first announced the HOF would be coming to South Bend in '92, then-Mayor Joe Kernan said that the attraction "would draw 200,000 people a year." Instead, it brought in "about 115,000 the first year and about 60,000 each year after that." Despite "disappointing attendance numbers, many say the Hall did help promote the downtown area" (WSBT.com, 12/29).
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