On September 10, 2016, Bristol Motor Speedway will attempt to stage the “Biggest College Football Game Ever” as it hosts the Virginia Tech Hokies and the University of Tennessee Volunteers.
Transformed into a college football stadium, Bristol Motor Speedway will be capable of seating approximately 150,000 fans. If the speedway was filled to capacity, it would eclipse the previous two largest-attended college football games: 120,000 fans at Notre Dame vs. Southern California at Soldier Field in 1927 and 115,109 fans at Michigan vs. Notre Dame at Michigan Stadium this season.
It would take the average crowd for both Tennessee and Virginia Tech home games combined to hit the 150,000 mark. Last season, Tennessee ranked #8 in attendance amongst FBS schools with an average attendance of 89,965, and Virginia Tech ranked 25th with an average of 65,632.
“To be able to play in front of a crowd that is the largest to ever see a college football game is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech head coach. “With the great fan support that Virginia Tech and the University of Tennessee have, it should be a great atmosphere.”
Tennessee is equally as optimistic about the potential to make this, “The Biggest College Football Game Ever.”
“This is an unprecedented opportunity for our football program to play in front of the largest crowd in the history of college football,” said Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics for University of Tennessee, Dave Hart. “Bristol Motor Speedway will be perhaps the most unique venue to ever host a college football game. Tennessee students, faculty, alumni, and fans will look forward to being a part of this great event.”
The evolution from speedway to college football stadium will need to take place over a short period of time, because Bristol will host a NASCAR race the August preceding the Battle at Bristol. Here are some key facts about the transformation provided by Bristol Motor Speedway:
- Immediately following the August 2016 NASCAR race at Bristol Motor Speedway, approximately 400 workers will immediately begin bulk cleaning, and then detailing, the Speedway
- Next an estimated 10-12 crews will begin pressure washing – a process that is normally done in February prior to the March NASCAR weekend
- Separate crews will clean all suites in seven days – a process that normally takes four-to-six weeks
- Turf and field build will be completed in eight days
- Approximately 8,500 tons of rock will be used to build the base of the field
- The rock will be brought in by approximately 400 truckloads. The complete haul-in process will take three, 10-12 hour days
- The base rock will be 3’-6” deep in the middle of the infield tapering to 1-1/2’ on sidelines to create the proper sloping effect for drainage
You can find more details about the event and sign up for ticket and event information at BattleatBristol.com.
UPDATE: The Richmond Times-Dispatch is reporting each team will receive $4 million as long as they sell at least 40,000 tickets, with escalators that could raise that amount to $4.5 million.
Kristi A. Dosh is an attorney and founder of BusinessofCollegeSports.com. Her latest book on the business of college football, Saturday Millionaires, is available now. Visit SaturdayMillionaires.com for retailers and a sneak peak at the first chapter! Follow her on Twitter: @SportsBizMiss.