Nashville Submits Bid to Host SEC Baseball Tournament

February 25th, 2016

secThe Nashville Sports Council has submitted a bid to serve as host for the SEC Baseball Tournament from 2017-21 at First Tennessee Park.

The deadline to submit a bid is Wednesday.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Nashville Sports Council President and CEO Scott Ramsey said. “I’ve been excited about it ever since we were able to sit down with the Sounds and the mayor’s office and decided to pursue it because we think it would not only be a great fit for First Tennessee Park and Nashville, but a great opportunity for us at the Sports Council as well.”

The tournament has been played in Hoover, Ala., the past 18 years, and Hoover officials are trying to keep it there.

“The SEC Baseball Tournament continues to enjoy great success in Hoover,” said SEC assistant commissioner Herb Vincent. “As we near the end of the current contract, our membership thought it was important to explore what locations, including Hoover, would have interest in serving as a host in the next contract period beginning in 2017. This is consistent with the process used in the past to determine the location of the baseball tournament and other SEC championship events.”

The other cities expected to submit bids are New Orleans, Memphis and Jacksonville, Fla.

“I know the SEC has had a great relationship in Hoover, and I’m certain there will be a lot of cities aggressively pursuing the baseball tournament along with us,” Ramsey said. “We’re looking forward to going through the process and very hopeful that they will look favorably on Nashville. Now that we’ve submitted the bid, I’m looking forward to showing them what we’ve got.”

The Nashville Sports Council has submitted a bid to serve as host for the SEC Baseball Tournament from 2017-21 at First Tennessee Park.

The deadline to submit a bid is Wednesday.

“I’m really excited about this opportunity,” Nashville Sports Council President and CEO Scott Ramsey said. “I’ve been excited about it ever since we were able to sit down with the Sounds and the mayor’s office and decided to pursue it because we think it would not only be a great fit for First Tennessee Park and Nashville, but a great opportunity for us at the Sports Council as well.”

The tournament has been played in Hoover, Ala., the past 18 years, and Hoover officials are trying to keep it there.

“The SEC Baseball Tournament continues to enjoy great success in Hoover,” said SEC assistant commissioner Herb Vincent. “As we near the end of the current contract, our membership thought it was important to explore what locations, including Hoover, would have interest in serving as a host in the next contract period beginning in 2017. This is consistent with the process used in the past to determine the location of the baseball tournament and other SEC championship events.”

The other cities expected to submit bids are New Orleans, Memphis and Jacksonville, Fla.

“I know the SEC has had a great relationship in Hoover, and I’m certain there will be a lot of cities aggressively pursuing the baseball tournament along with us,” Ramsey said. “We’re looking forward to going through the process and very hopeful that they will look favorably on Nashville. Now that we’ve submitted the bid, I’m looking forward to showing them what we’ve got.”

The winning bid will be awarded either after the athletics director meet at the men’s basketball tournament, which will be played March 9-13 at Bridgestone Arena, or at the SEC Spring Meetings in May in Destin, Fla.

Ramsey said Vanderbilt’s Hawkins Field would serve as the backup practice facility for the tournament, which is played in May.

The SEC is in the final year of a five-year deal to play the tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, which seats 10,500. Capacity at First Tennessee Park is 10,000.

The SEC and Nashville Sports Council already agreed on a deal that has the men’s or women’s basketball tournament being played at Bridgestone Arena for 12 consecutive years. That began last year with the men’s tournament.

The SEC men’s and women’s tournament have each been played five times at Bridgestone Arena since 2001.

“We’ve had a great relationship with the Southeastern Conference with all the basketball tournaments we’ve hosted over the years and are going to host in the future,” Ramsey said. “We would love to have that same kind of relationship and opportunity to host the SEC Baseball Tournament.”

Ramsey took SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey on a tour of First Tennessee Park, which opened in spring 2015, while Sankey was in Nashville for the NHL All-Star Game in January.

Several other members from the SEC staff were in town last fall and also toured the park.

“This is the type of event that the building of this wonderful ballpark creates the opportunity to bring more people to Nashville and that sort of thing,” Sounds Senior Vice President Doug Scopel said. “So we’re excited about that opportunity.”

Ramsey said he stressed the growing downtown area and the newness of First Tennessee Park in his pitch to the SEC.

“We heavily promoted the extension of downtown and all of the things from a fan experience and a player experience that we think we can deliver that is unique,” Ramsey said. “Also, to have a new facility for the players is a plus.”

If Nashville gets the bid, Ramsey said, it will have a significant economic impact on the city.

“The benefit for the city is that the SEC Network televises all of the games and ESPN picks up the championship game,” he said. “So the SEC Network is anchored in here for an entire week and it’s great, great media exposure.”

Courtesy of Mike Organ: Tennessean.com

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