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SBD/May 29, 2013/Colleges
SEC Addressing Potential Football Attendance Concerns During Spring Meetings
Published May 29, 2013
SLIVE'S TAKE: SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said of potential attendance problems, "The time to deal with an issue is when you don't have it and try to think ahead. ... We took a baby step last year when we started showing the same replays inside our stadiums that fans were seeing at home. Right now, our stadiums are filled to 96, 97 or 98 [percent] capacity. This is the time to stay ahead of the curve." Meanwhile, Slive said of initial reaction to the SEC Network, "Very positive. Wherever I go, people come up to me and talk about the network. How can they access the network? What's going to be on the network? The other question is what is the content going to be? Over the next 15 months, we will develop the content." Slive also said of hiring radio host Paul Finebaum for the net, "Some people like Paul and some people don't. But everybody will tell you that he is interesting, regardless of the angle or the point of view you come from." He added of the new College Football Playoff, "I am very happy with it. The new (six-bowl) structure gives more than just two opportunities for our teams. ... Everybody's agreed we want the four best teams (in the playoffs). The academic schedule has not been disturbed. The fans wanted a playoff and we found the right model" (CBSSPORTS.com, 5/27).
FINDING A HOME: Slive yesterday said that SEC ADs voted "unanimously to explore a primary site for the men’s basketball tournament" rather than rotating the tournament on a yearly basis. Slive said that the league’s "success in making Atlanta the host of the football title game and Hoover, Ala., the host of the baseball tournament has spurred interest in anchoring the basketball tourney." YAHOO SPORTS' Pat Forde reported the "presumptive leader to become the SEC’s primary site is Nashville," which hosted this year’s tournament and is scheduled to host in '15, ’16 and ’19. Since '00, the tourney has been in "Atlanta seven times, Nashville four times, New Orleans twice and Tampa once." But as crowds have "dipped to sizes too small to require use of the Georgia Dome, Atlanta has not been in the rotation as often recently." It may "never be what Madison Square Garden was to the Big East, but Bridgestone Arena has been a popular venue" (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 5/28).
PLAYING 9-BALL: In Florida, David Jones writes the SEC is "bouncing around the needs to produce good TV with the needs to protect conference strengths and protect big nonconference rival games." The SEC Network makes its "debut in 2014, which means even more thirst for events to draw audiences." But the conference is "debating adding a ninth league game to the schedule, which turns arguably the toughest conference in the nation into a potential nightmare for its own members." But it is "great for the potential in advertising dollars and viewer numbers." Slive "doesn’t expect any decision this week" (FLORIDA TODAY, 5/29).