The dawgs are barking and “Roll Tide” can be heard all over Atlanta. It’s clear that the SEC Championship game is in town.
The University of Georgia Bulldogs will meet the Alabama Crimson Tide to battle for not only the Southeastern Conference crown, but a likely spot in the 2013 BCS National Championship Game against Notre Dame.
The Dawgs have last year’s 42-10 loss to LSU in the championship game to serve as a very painful reminder of what not to do. The Tide and coach Nick Saban, who didn’t win the SEC West but still played in the BCS National Championship game and won, have had their share of big games as well. This is the first meeting between Georgia and Alabama since 2008, which ended in a 41-30 victory for the Crimson Tide.
Las Vegas has the Crimson Tide as big favorites. Alabama opened as a 7.5-point favorite in several sports books — and got as high as -8.5 — it has settled as a 7-point favorite, according to the Las Vegas Sun. The Tide are also a 10-point favorite to beat Notre Dame in the national championship, while Georgia is a three-and-a-half-point underdog.
In the 20 years since the SEC instituted a league championship game, the winner has gone on to win the national title nine times. The game has not only had big implications on the field, but off of it as well.
The SEC, the first major conference with 12 members, became the first major conference to host a championship game. That first game generated an estimated $6 million. The institution of a championship game as well as on-field dominance, winning the last six college football national championships, has turn the conference into a revenue monster.
Forbes reports that in 1992, the first year of the SEC Championship Game, the conference had $27.7 million in major sports-related revenues. Last year, the conference hauled in $241.5 million in revenues. Nearly 70% of that revenue ($166.1 million, to be exact) came from football (television deals with ESPN and CBS, the championship game and bowls). Each conference member received $20 million last year.
The revenue train shows no sign and the city of Atlanta is poised to be a beneficiary. Experts are predicting a $30 million boost to the local economy.