According to Hoover City Administrator Allan Rice, the SEC Baseball Tournament drew nearly 140,000 fans this past week at the Hoover Met. Moreover, both the city and the SEC have agreed in principle to continue playing the tournament in Hoover till 2024.
“We love hosting people from all over the southeast,” Rice told Bham Now. “It’s an incredibly family friendly environment. Our employees and community volunteers go out of their way to be hospitable and welcoming. We’ve got an incredible facility. We’ve got nice amenities in terms of restaurants and hotels. Our brand is our hospitality.”
The week-long college baseball tournament, which has drawn between 120,000 to 160,000+ fans annually over the past decade, is one of the largest in the nation. The event also brings in up to $15 million in revenue for the city.
“The Region’s Tradition golf tournament and the SEC Baseball Tournament form the centerpiece of our sports tourism economy, which is a big piece of our revenue stream,” added Rice.
Tennessee Vols Crowned Champs
Despite wet weather earlier in the week, this year’s tournament saw the nation’s number one team, the Tennessee Volunteers, win their first ever overall conference championship beating the Florida Gators.
On Sunday, both fanbases turned out in droves for the finale. The attendance— 13,270—was the 2nd largest crowd in the tournament’s history that did not include hometown favorite University of Alabama.
Changes are coming in 2025 when Oklahoma and Texas join the SEC, giving the conference 16 teams. Will the conference keep the 12-team format for the tournament? Will Hoover be able to strike a long term contract with the SEC? Let’s hope so.
Meanwhile, expect sports fans this summer to make their way to the Hoover Met several times beginning next week when the city hosts the USA Pickleball Indoor National Championships and The World Games softball competition in July.
Did you attend the 2022 SEC Baseball Tournament? Tell us how it went. Tag us at @bhamnow on social media.