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ACC dumps Jacksonville for Tampa, Charlotte.


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Home > The Athens Banner-Herald > DogBytes > Football

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Football

ACC dumps Jacksonville for Tampa, Charlotte

College football

Story Photos - Click to Enlarge

Coach Frank Beamer, center, and the Virginia Tech Hokies beat Boston College 30-16 in this year's ACC Championship game. Tampa will host the ACC title game in 2008.

Associated Press

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| Associated Press | Story updated at 11:51 PM on Wednesday, December 12, 2007

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Atlantic Coast Conference Championship game is moving after drawing smaller crowds in Jacksonville, Fla., than the league had hoped.

A panel of league athletic directors and faculty athletics representatives voted unanimously Wednesday to move the title game to Tampa, Fla. in 2008 and 2009 and to Charlotte in 2010 and 2011.

"Both Tampa Bay and Charlotte are tremendous destinations in terms of their football venue, community support and partnership with the [ACC]," commissioner John Swofford said.

Most importantly, the league hopes both cities will bring more fans. Since the league expanded to 12 schools in 2005 and became eligible to hold a title game, the game has been played in front of dwindling crowds.

The game drew 72,749 in 2005, then 62,850 in 2006 and 53,212 earlier this month when Virginia Tech beat Boston College 30-16.

The ACC has also been hampered by teams without major followings reaching the title game. Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and Boston College have played in the game in the past two seasons. BC sold only 3,500 tickets for this year's game.

"For the first three years we had one superb year attendance wise in the inaugural game and then the next two were not what we would have hoped," Swofford said. "And what we're after is simply to find the best mix, and I think it does take a mix of local sales with the sales from the participating schools."

The league hopes the new sites will be better attractions. Tampa provides warm weather and plenty of area activities, but it's a long trip for many schools' fans. Charlotte is a more central location, but is prone to cold weather on the first Saturday in December.

Tampa was picked to host the first two-year block at least partially because of a citywide convention in Charlotte in 2008 that limited the availability of hotel rooms and event areas. Each city requested to host the game in consecutive years.

"The ACC is coming to a football community that is poised and passionate about taking the championship to the next level," said Jeff Adams, chairman of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission. "We're ready for the challenge."

Charlotte's effort included major help from local businessman Johnny Harris, who helped make the Wachovia Championship into one of the premier non-major events on the PGA Tour.

Harris said he plans to study the SEC's title game success in Atlanta, which regularly sells out.

"I think the best parallel is to look at what the SEC did," Harris said. "They're the one we want to emulate."

Tim Newman, chief executive of the Charlotte Regional Visitors Authority, said he expects the economic impact for the game to be $20 million, similar to Meineke Bowl. The bowl also is held in December and its schedule isn't expected to change with the arrival of the ACC title game.

Harris said he hopes the game will find a permanent home in Charlotte after 2011.

"We love Jacksonville. We love the people. We love Tampa. We're excited for them," Harris said. "But the fact of the matter is we're going to make this the best place for the ACC championship game."

Published in the Athens Banner-Herald on 121307

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SacFalcFan (12/13/2007)
Harris said he plans to study the SEC's title game success in Atlanta, which regularly sells out.

"I think the best parallel is to look at what the SEC did," Harris said. "They're the one we want to emulate."

Ummmm, what's to study? Put the game at a centralized location in a NFL class stadium. Charlotte, DC, Baltimore, and Philly all fit the bill.

If your scared of it being cold, it's FOOTBALL, nut up.

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SacFalcFan (12/13/2007)
Unkn0wn (12/13/2007)
BC sold only 3,500 tickets for this year's game.

Ouch.

I saw an overhead picture of this year's game in jacksonville and couldn't believe how few people were there.. neither team traveled very well.

http://img86.imageshack.us/img86/6625/img00008ij5.jpg

If they want to save their championship game, they better move it to Charlotte.

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Until they figure a way to get more local interest in the game, it doesn't matter where it is. The first three ACC champ game had practically zero local buzz about it, and even if they got a dream matchup of Clemson/FSU vs VT/Miami, it would still struggle to fill. There's plenty of people who grab SEC champ tickets way in advance in Atlanta, and go regardless of if their team is playing.

It would seem to me the worst idea is to keep rotating it. The game needs to stay in one location, and it HAS to be in a city with easy direct flights to from all of the airports that serve ACC schools. That eliminates Jacksonville, and JAX is an SEC town anyways.

Charlotte is probably the best bet outside of Atlanta (which will never happen). I'd think Charlotte would have the largest alumni base for most of the ACC (behind Atlanta), and it could be easier to sell to the locals.

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SacFalcFan (12/13/2007)
Unkn0wn (12/13/2007)
BC sold only 3,500 tickets for this year's game.

Ouch.

I saw an overhead picture of this year's game in jacksonville and couldn't believe how few people were there.. neither team traveled very well.

It was awful. Unfortunately, I was in Jacksonville and there were people giving tickets away before the game. This one lady had about 20 tickets in the club level and she just started handing out tickets. The ACC should be embarrassed.

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EMerckx69 (12/14/2007)
SacFalcFan (12/13/2007)
Unkn0wn (12/13/2007)
BC sold only 3,500 tickets for this year's game.

Ouch.

I saw an overhead picture of this year's game in jacksonville and couldn't believe how few people were there.. neither team traveled very well.

It was awful. Unfortunately, I was in Jacksonville and there were people giving tickets away before the game. This one lady had about 20 tickets in the club level and she just started handing out tickets. The ACC should be embarrassed.

It is embarrassing and the acc commish and presidents have themselves to blame.. why jacksonville.. why tampa? it needs to be something centralized.. like charlotte and don't rotate it.. can you imagine if the sec game rotated.. that would be horrible.

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