Attending the SEC Championship? Here's Your Guide

9:04 AM, Nov 30, 2012   |    comments
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11ALIVE NEWS, Atlanta

ATLANTA -- The SEC Championship game will take place between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the University of Georgia Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome Saturday at 4:00 PM.

Forty thousand fans attended the The Dr. Pepper Fanfare event in 2011. It will be at the Georgia World Congress Center in building C, and runs from 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

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ESPN Gameday will be broadcasting live from Centennial Olympic Park Saturday morning.

Sixteen of the last 17 SEC Championships have sold out. Tim Cearley, director of ticket operations, said the demand for tickets this year has been "unparalleled" by previous high demand.

Forty-two thousand fans tried to buy tickets through the University of Georgia. They only had 16,000 available, with 1,500 set aside for students. Seniors with the most hours who had also attended the most games were eligible. The university also gave various alumni priority over the other tickets.

"When you've got demand at the scale we have, it's that or some kind of lottery," Cearley said.

An advisory group developed the system they used to determine which students would get priority.

Second-market ticket sellers like StubHub have been busy selling thousands of other tickets. By Friday morning, the cheapest high-altitude end zone tickets were going for $295. Expensive suite tickets that were selling for $1,200 apiece earlier in the week were sold out.

Chuck Dunlap, spokesman for the SEC, issued a warning about fake ticket sales. In past years, anything from 50 to 300 fake tickets were confiscated at the door.

This year, there will be a confirmation window set up at the Georgia Dome, so you can check before you pay for tickets. But remember, Georgia law says if you sell your ticket for more than face value, you must be at least 1,500 feet from the venue.

While they were still available as late as Wednesday, by Friday morning all Georgia Dome parking lots were sold out. MARTA will be running trains through the day Saturday, and organizers suggest you take that.

But if you still want to tailgate, you'll have to head to private lots surrounding the Dome. There are several that lines Northside Drive, but come prepared. In 2011, spots sold for $50 apiece.

The SEC had to completely change the way they prepared for the big weekend because of Thursday night's game against the Falcons. To save time, they hung SEC banners and signage up earlier in the week, and then covered them with Falcons icons until after the game.

As soon as the Falcons filed their victory against the New Orleans Saints, crews started scrubbing the field. They use a scrubber to wash the Falcons icons away and repaint the field. The first coat will be in place before the teams practice Friday afternoon. The end zones and center icon will be roped off to keep the paint fresh, and then a second coat will go on Friday night.

SEC spokesman Chuck Dunlap said fans won't notice anything different, but crews will work overtime Thursday and Friday night to make it happen.

Economic Impact
There's been a lot of talk about the economic impact of this year's SEC Championship game.

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Dunlap said downtown Atlanta hotels are sold out. While we did find a few rooms still available, hotels we checked with were at least 95% booked through the weekend.

Since only one team is from out of state, the number of long distance travelers is down. But Dunlap said they met with the Atlanta Chamber of Commerce when the concerns came up, and they don't expect a big change.

Since the game between Alabama and Georgia will determine who plays in the BCS National Championships, it's gathering more interest. They expect the economic impact to be around $27 million this year.


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