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College Football Hall of Fame coming to Atlanta
#923 by briantech (1.0000) posted on 8:07pm Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
This is huge!
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Atlanta Business Chronicle - by J. Scott Trubey Staff Writer
September 22, 2009, 6:34pm
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The College Hall of Fame is expected to be built near Centennial Olympic Park, sources told Atlanta Business Chronicle.
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The College Football Hall of Fame, long sought after as a crown jewel tourist attraction for the capital of the South, will touchdown in downtown Atlanta, multiple sources have told Atlanta Business Chronicle.
The move would be a tremendous victory for Atlanta, which has coveted the Hall of Fame for almost 15 years, and has actively solicited the National Football Foundation (NFF) to move it here from South Bend, Ind., for nearly two years.
State officials and Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin are expected to officially announce the move from South Bend, Ind., to Atlanta at a Thursday afternoon press conference.
The Atlanta Sports Council confirmed its interest in the college hall in a statement published in the Dec. 14, 2007 issue of Atlanta Business Chronicle. That interest began in 1995 when the college hall moved from its former site near Cincinnati, Ohio, to its current South Bend home.
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Officials from the NFF, which owns the Hall of Fame, and officials from the Atlanta Sports Council did not immediately return calls seeking comment. City officials in South Bend, Ind., and with Gov. Sonny Perdue’s office also did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
The NFF has not put out bids on a new college hall, but officials with the foundation have sought to move it, with Atlanta and Dallas being the two likeliest destinations.
A source close to the board said Atlanta was chosen over Dallas because of its civic and business backing and the attractive downtown tourist areas and its many attractions.
Sources familiar with the talks have said Atlanta has been building financial and political support among business interests, seen as key to drawing the college hall to the nexus of SEC and ACC football.
The Atlanta Sports Council has been pitching the site at Centennial Olympic Park formerly eyed for the NASCAR Hall of Fame, which ultimately picked Charlotte, N.C., over the Big Peach.
The Hall of Fame would also be positioned within a few blocks of the Georgia Dome, home of the SEC Championship football game, the Chick-fil-a Bowl and the Chick-fil-a College Football Kickoff game, bringing built in interest to the attraction.
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Despite the college hall’s proximity to the University of Notre Dame, it has not lived up to attendance expectations, and the hall has faced growing political pressure. The hall attracts 65,000 people per year, well off projections of 200,000.
Former operator Taft Broadcasting Co shuttered it in 1990. It later latched on to the Pyramid, the former home of the Memphis, Tenn., NBA franchise, before the mixed-use development descended into bankruptcy.
When it moved from its site near Cincinnati to Indiana in 1995, it got a sweetheart deal from South Bend. It was housed in a $15 million facility and the city promised the move would come at no cost to the foundation.
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Anchoring the Hall of Fame in Atlanta in close proximity to the Georgia Aquarium, the World of Coke and the future Center for Civil & Human Rights, would cement Centennial Olympic Park as the hub of Atlanta tourism. The park also boasts the Children’s Museum, the National Museum of Patriotism, and will be the future home of the National Health Museum.
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In reports as recent as April, officials and developers in Dallas expressed their desire to lure the college hall to downtown the city’s center. The cabal of heavy hitters included Roger Staubach and billionaire T. Boone Pickens.
In 2005, Arlington, Tex., said it would relocate the college hall, but the effort fizzled. Jerry Jones, owner of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and a board member of the NFF, was rumored to be involved in an effort to bring the Hall of Fame to an Arlington site near the new $1 billion Cowboys Stadium and the ballpark of Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers.
Arlington, home to both teams, had hoped to land the college hall inside the massive Glorypark mixed use development surrounding the Rangers’ stadium.
The 1.2 million-square-foot Atlantic Station-style development includes hotels and an entertainment district with retail and restaurants.
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#924 by briantech (1.0000) posted on 8:11pm Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009
South Bend can suck on them apples lol
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#950 by BillyMays (0.1005) posted on 6:47am Thursday, September 24th, 2009
College Football Hall adds to tourist menu
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By Leon Stafford
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
12:02 a.m. Thursday, September 24, 2009
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The College Football Hall of Fame, which officials will announce today is coming to Atlanta, will cost $50 million and be funded by city, state and private sources.
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The 50,000-square-foot hall will open as early as September 2012, said Gary Stokan, president of the Chick-fil-A Bowl, which oversaw the five-year effort to snag the museum from its home in South Bend, Ind.
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Officials hope to locate the attraction near Centennial Olympic Park — already a powerhouse entertainment district with the Georgia Dome, Philips Arena, Georgia Aquarium, World of Coca-Cola and the future home of the Center for Civil and Human Rights, also projected to open in 2012.
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“This is an outstanding draw for Atlanta and I think makes the statement that Atlanta is one of the best tourism cities in America,” Stokan said. “This will be the portal, the mecca of football.”
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The Chick-fil-A Bowl will fund $5 million of the hall’s cost. Chick-fil-A, the Atlanta-based fast-food company, will pitch in another $5 million, Stokan said. He declined to disclose city and state funding, preferring to leave that to Mayor Shirley Franklin and Gov. Sonny Perdue, who will speak at a news conference this afternoon.
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Other corporate fund-raising has not yet begun.
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“Out of respect to South Bend, we didn’t move forward to any finalization of corporate sponsorships,” Stokan said.
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The deal puts the museum — which brings in big names such as former NFL star Troy Aikman and former coach Lou Holtz for annual inductions — in Atlanta for the next 30 years, Stokan said.
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The complete funding package will be finalized in late December, Stokan said.
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He projected that the hall would attract “upwards of 500,000 people” annually, which would make it considerably more successful than it has been in South Bend.
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Projected to attract 200,000 visitors annually when it opened there in 1995, the hall drew 150,000 its first year. But its numbers fell well below expectations thereafter, averaging 60,000 annually.
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Atlanta boosters hope it will draw from the millions of sports fans who come downtown for games at the Dome and Philips Arena; from the conventioneers at the Georgia World Congress Center; and from those who flock to the many attractions around Centennial Olympic Park.
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Atlanta sports marketing guru Bob Hope said proximity to popular attractions does not guarantee success. It will take creativity to keep people coming after the newness and the novelty have worn off, he said.
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“I don’t think they will do well by just opening the doors. They will have to do a lot of marketing and have to keep it fresh,” Hope said.
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Thinking more broadly is what helped Atlanta win its bid to move the museum, said Steve Hatchell, president of the National Football Foundation and the College Football Hall of Fame. While other cities like Dallas also wanted to be the new home, Atlanta was willing to put together financing to back it up.
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“We didn’t send out [requests for proposals], these cities came to us, Hatchell said. “We weren’t shopping to move.”
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He expects Atlanta will bring the museum more visibility and draw more foot traffic than South Bend because of the population differences — 100,000 people in South Bend compared to metro Atlanta’s more than 5 million.
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The Atlanta museum will include an education component that will be developed in consultation with local school chiefs like Atlanta Superintendent Beverly Hall. And it will offer entertainment, including a big outdoor screen for visitors who don’t have tickets for games at the Dome or Philips to watch, Stokan said.
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“I call it ‘edutainseum,’” he said.
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Officials are looking at four downtown sites for the museum, but Stokan declined to identify them. Downtown property owners and real estate agents said one of the spots is a parking lot on Centennial Olympic Park Drive.
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Stokan said an architect will be announced in about a month, and the decision on the site will be made in the next four months.
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“Our preference is around Centennial Olympic Park,” he said of the site selection.
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Pattsie Rand, sales and marketing director for the GWCC, said being a convention town will help. When deciding where to hold conventions, meeting planners are always looking for the new. During its first couple of years, the Georgia Aquarium pulled in a lot of business because conventioneers wanted to hold opening ceremonies at someplace different.
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Cesar Wurm, sales and marketing director at the W Atlanta downtown, agreed. He said the museum will not be the main reason that convention traffic will come, “but it helps you close the deal as an added value.”
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David Marvin, who has developed several downtown hotels, said Atlanta’s track record in making the city more destination-friendly has been good.
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“As Bernie Marcus [the aquarium’s builder] taught us, Atlanta really supports great destinations,” he said. “I imagine it will do very well here. It’s another arrow in Atlanta’s quiver.”
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Thread Listing » General Atlanta Discussion » College Football Hall of Fame coming to Atlanta

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