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Guest donaltopablo

ACC seeks host city for title game

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Guest donaltopablo

ACC seeks host city for title game

By TONY BARNHART

Atlanta Journal-Constitution Staff Writer

Published on: 5/10/04

Amelia Island, Fla. -- Charlotte, Jacksonville, and Orlando have emerged as the most likely sites to host the first ACC championship football game in December of 2005, according to those involved in the decision.

The ACC will send out request for proposals in two or three weeks to the nine cities that have expressed interest in hosting the game. The other six include Atlanta, Baltimore, Miami, the Meadowlands in New Jersey, Tampa, and Washington.

Atlanta isn't considered a serious contender because it hosts the SEC Championship Game each year.

ACC commissioner John Swofford said Monday at the league's annual meeting when the proposals are returned to the conference, a subcommittee of athletics directors will narrow the list to about three. The league then will conduct on-site visits before making a decision in "late summer or early fall," Swofford said.

The ACC is considering giving the host city a two-year contract for the game with a two-year option. The league hopes to generate between $10 million and $12 million per game.

Last summer the ACC expanded to add Miami and Virginia Tech. Boston College is scheduled to become the league's 12th member in July of 2005, making the ACC eligible to play the championship game.

The proposals will outline financial considerations and how the city plans to host events surrounding the game in order to create the best atmosphere. ACC officials also will look at travel conveniences, location and weather.

Atlanta would be a perfect site given its central location and the availability of the Georgia Dome. But the SEC Championship Game will be played on the same day. The Atlanta Sports Council will receive proposals as a courtesy.

Jacksonville, led by Gator Bowl Executive Director Rick Catlett, plans to tout its stadium, which will undergo a $46 million renovation before the city plays host to the Super Bowl in February, 2005.

"Except for the folks in Boston, everybody in the ACC can drive here in less than 10 hours," Catlett said.

Jacksonville also has a relationship with the ACC because the Toyota Gator Bowl takes the league's No. 2 team each season.

Orlando is trying to push its 112,000 hotel rooms and cheap air fares, particularly in the first week of December, when the tourism business is slow.

"Because you don't know which teams are coming until a week before the game, you have to have a city that can handle a lot of people in a short amount of time," said Tom Mickle, the executive director of the Capital One Bowl. "That is what Orlando does best."

Orlando does have some issues; the Florida Citrus Stadium needs an upgrade. A $125 million renovation could be approved if the Capital One becomes a member of the Bowl Championship Series later this year. That uncertainty could hurt Orlando's chances.

Charlotte is banking on geography and an NFL stadium that also has all the bells and whistles. Bank America Stadium is located in North Carolina, home to four ACC schools.

"It's right in the heart of ACC territory, and for most schools it is an easy trip," said Ken Haines of Raycom Sports, who is spearheading Charlotte's effort. "In Charlotte, it would be the biggest event of that week as opposed to some other cities that have so many things going on."

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I hope that it comes to Jax because I think that we will benefit from the game. With all the new construction and a beautiful stadium, why not?

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I just heard on Sports Radio AM 930, that "ACC insiders" say Jax is a lock to get the game, unless a "certain un-named company" in Charlotte donates somewhere around $5 million dollars on behalf of that city's bid.

What are people saying in the other cities about this competition?

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Guest donaltopablo

In Atlanta, we think we're a long shot because we already host the SEC game and they would compete on the same weekend, which would be very difficult to pull off.

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Jacksonville will be a great city for the ACC title game. With no other college game besides the Gator Bowl, it is a good city for the game. Also, if Jacksonville can host a Super Bowl, we should be able to host an ACC title game.

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