ATLANTA -- The Southeastern Conference, along with AMB Sports & Entertainment (AMBSE) and the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), today at the College Football Hall of Fame announced an agreement to host the SEC Championship Game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta through 2026. The new agreement allows the SEC the option of adding up to two successive five-year extensions.
The Georgia Dome has hosted the SEC Championship Game for 21 years beginning in 1994, with capacity crowds in the last 19 consecutive years. By the end of the new agreement, including options, the Championship will have been played in Atlanta a total of 43 years. Mercedes-Benz Stadium is set to open in 2017, with 2016 set to be the final SEC Championship Game held in the Georgia Dome.
"Atlanta has served as an outstanding host for the SEC Football Championship Game for more than two decades and has been the perfect venue for one of the premier events in college sports," said SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey. "We look forward to continuing a very positive relationship with Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the Georgia World Congress Center as the home of our football championship."
The SEC Football Championship joins a growing list of events that will be hosted in Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The NCAA Men's Final Four will play in the stadium in 2020, and the stadium will host the annual Celebration Bowl, a championship game for the Mid-Eastern and Southwestern conferences of the Historically Black Colleges and Universities beginning in 2017. Atlanta is currently bidding on the 2018 National College Football Playoff Championship Game, which will be awarded later this year, and is a finalist for the 2019 or 2020 NFL Super Bowl. Selections for the Super Bowl games will be announced in May 2016.
"We are tremendously excited to continue the SEC legacy in Atlanta in the years to come," said Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United Owner Arthur Blank. "The SEC Football Championship Game is a premier sporting event and is representative of the marquee events we will host at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. We look forward to working with the SEC toward their goal of producing national championship winners."
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.
"The announcement made today is a reaffirmation of the strong relationship the Georgia World Congress Center Authority team has with the Southeastern Conference," said GWCCA Executive Director Frank Poe. "The Authority, through the Georgia Dome, has been a proud partner in the growth and development of the nation's premier collegiate football championship. We look forward to continuing that relationship as the SEC plays its final championship game in the Georgia Dome and moves into Mercedes Benz Stadium."
The press conference announcing the new 10-year agreement between Mercedes-Benz Stadium and the SEC was also attended by Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed.
Currently under construction in downtown Atlanta, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be a world-class, multi-purpose venue representing the latest in design, features and amenities. The stadium is on track to achieve LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) certification at the highest level from the U.S. Green Building Council and will contribute to a thriving downtown tourist and entertainment district.
"The City of Atlanta is proud to be the home of the SEC Championship for the next ten years," said Mayor Reed. "Atlanta is the premier city for these prestigious events because we have a verifiable track record of success. With this announcement, Atlanta will remain where fans from across the Southeast come to experience our world-class hospitality."
Download an SEC Championship/Mercedes-Benz Stadium rendering here: http://mercedesbenzstadium.com/mediakit/
About Mercedes-Benz Stadium
The new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United, Mercedes-Benz stadium will open in 2017. The multi-purpose venue will feature flexible capacity expandable for football events such as the SEC Championship to up to 75,000 seats; a retractable roof structure inspired by the oculus in the ancient Rome Pantheon; views of the Atlanta skyline; a 360-degree HD video halo board that, at nearly six stories tall and 1,100 linear feet in diameter, will be the largest in the NFL and the world; an exterior fan plaza providing fans with pre- and post-game entertainment; and a technology lounge offering a unique game-day experience full of media content and full game-day immersion.
For more information on Mercedes-Benz stadium and to view project renderings, photos and construction progress, visit www.mercedesbenzstadium.com and follow #MBStadium.
About the Southeastern Conference (SEC)
The Southeastern Conference was formed in 1932 and consists of 14 member institutions: Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, LSU, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Missouri, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Vanderbilt. The league currently sanctions championship play in nine men's sports and 12 women's sports. Its headquarters has been located in Birmingham, Ala., since 1948. For more on the conference, visit www.SECsports.com.
About the Georgia World Congress Center
Located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA) includes Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the College Football Hall of Fame, the 3.9 million square foot convention center, the 71,250-seat Georgia Dome, and 21-acre Centennial Olympic Park. Additionally, GWCCA manages operations of the Savannah International Trade & Convention Center. These public facilities represent the largest combined convention, sports, and entertainment destinations in the world. This past year, the GWCCA hosted 552 events and welcomed more than 2.3 million visitors who generated $1.4 billion in economic impact and sustained 15,134 jobs in Georgia.