Thursday, July 17, 2008

The Atlanta Sports Council - no friend of GT

The Atlanta Sports Council is fodder for some good debate, but their mission in life in most ways works directly against the best interests of the hometown Jackets as well as the mutts in Athens.

The Atlanta Sports Council promotes the value of sports growth in Atlanta and Georgia by acting as an authority on the economic impact, visibility and quality of life issues associated with sports. Its mission is to lead, organize and support sports development with the goal of building Atlanta's reputation as the Sports Capital of the World.

Sounds good on the surface. Who wouldn't want their university to be based in the "Sports Capital of the World"? However, the recent announcement that Virginia Tech would open their season next year in the ATL against an unnamed opponent in the Georgia Dome is case #2 that their interests don't always coincide with GT. Case #1 is the season opener this fall in the Georgia Dome, pitting Clemson against Alabama. That little announcement is what most likely resulted in Georgia Tech moving their opener to Thursday night. Whoops. Thanks ASC.

I'm sure the ASC wants to make that thing the annual "Kickoff Classic". Nick Saban appears to want to make a Dome visit an annual ritual, and why not? Behind California, Florida and Texas, you can argue that Georgia has the deepest high school talent pool in the nation - in ALL three major sports no less. So if I'm in the shoes of AD's surrounding the state, I'd be putting my bid in to play that game each year as well. If the state didn't have the high school talent, would Saban or Bowden care? Of course not. This is a decision purely about money and exposure, facilitated by the ASC.

Sorry, but the mission of that group by definition creates competition for eyeballs and wallets. While the pure mission would be to bring in more people who wouldn't normally attend an event, it will certainly cannabalize D-Rad's effort to attract casual ATL area fans to BDS. Not so sure it's the ASC's problem though. It's certainly Dan Radakovich's problem - who happens to sit on the board of the ASC.

If I were sitting in the AD chair down in Athens, I'd be a little concerned as well, although they seem to be doing just fine when it comes to attracting fans.

By the way, note that the ASC is sponsoring an event July 28 where Paul Johnson, Bill Curry, March Richt, Lee Corso and Tony Barnhardt are speaking (college football preview luncheon).