Monday, March 17, 2008

SEC still dealing with tornado and ticket fiasco

The Southeastern Conference is still dealing with the tornado that struck the Georgia Dome during the men's basketball tournament last week, and it looks like it's going to cost them.

Obviously, when you move a high demand tournament from a 26,ooo to a 9,191 seat venue as the SEC was forced to when it moved the weekend session of the tournament to Georgia Tech's Alexander Memorial Coliseum, something's gotta give. Still, one has to wonder whether the SEC really did all it could by allowing only officials, bands, cheerleaders, and those close to the players attend the Saturday and Sunday games.

I know, the idea was that if you can't fit everyone in, then no one is getting in. It was definitely the fair thing to do. But, man, it sure would have been nice to cash in at least some of the revenue from the event to cushion the blow. Just 3,700 people attended the championship game on Sunday, which is a far cry from the estimated 20,000 that would have been in attendance if the game were held at the Georgia Dome.

It's unclear, however, if the SEC would have taken approach if there were enough police officers to provide security for a full crowd, that would have, in all likelihood, overflowed the arena.

So perhaps letting more people in wouldn't have been feasible, but it was pretty clear that by not doing so, some of the spirit of the event was gone. People in attendance during the weekend session said that the venue had almost a high school feel to it with such a small crowd. I just wonder how electric that place would have been with a packed house, and the hometown Bulldogs pulling off a hell of a run to get themselves a spot in the big dance.

All told, the wild weekend will likely cost the SEC around $2 million dollars in revenue at an event that brought in $4.3 million dollars last year. Still, no matter how much of a headache this might have caused for everyone involved, the most important thing was that no one got hurt, and we should be thankful for that.

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