HOOVER, Ala. — The unofficial kickoff to college football season might be on the move.
The Southeastern Conference is strongly evaluating a relocation of SEC media days from its longtime spot here in Alabama, conference officials said Tuesday.
In an interview with The Advocate, SEC commissioner Greg Sankey declined to reveal potential new locations or the timing of a possible move, but he confirmed the league is considering moving around the annual extravaganza. A smiling Sankey called Nashville, Tennessee; Dallas; and Atlanta “a pretty good list” of potential hosts.
Hoover remains a possibility, the third-year commissioner said.
“We’ve got a great tradition here in Hoover. As our footprint has expanded, it’s appropriate to look at options,” he said. “I said back in April that’s on my mind. I don’t have a prediction of when or where, but I think at some point mobility can be a healthy thing for this particular endeavor.”
Expanding the league’s footprint is a primary reason for the potential move, Sankey said. The league has done this with other events, including the men’s basketball tournament. St. Louis in 2018 and Tampa, Florida, in 2022 will host the men’s basketball tournament. Nashville hosts the event in 2019-21 and 2023-25.
HOOVER, Ala. — LSU's media guide isn't complete, so the school hasn't released a depth chart…
Media days has never been held outside of the Birmingham metro area since its inception in 1985, and Hoover's Wynfrey Hotel has been the host since 2001. The conference office is a short drive away in downtown Birmingham.
This event, though, has grown significantly since those early days. More than 1,000 media members are credentialed each year, with live radio and television stages dotting the first and second floors of the hotel in this sprawling south Birmingham suburb.
“This is a central, easily accessible location, but I also think there’s opportunities to go to some other locations, just like we’re doing in men’s basketball,” Sankey said Tuesday during the second day of the four-day event.
As of now, a location that’s not being considered is New Orleans, confirmed Herb Vincent, the SEC’s associate commissioner/communications. Charlotte, North Carolina, home base for the SEC Network, is also not being considered, Vincent said. The league held men’s basketball media days there before moving it to Nashville.
Football media days could return to Hoover in 2018. The league’s agreement with the Wynfrey is a yearly arrangement. It has not been renewed yet for next year, Sankey said, which is “typical.”
“The Wynfrey here has been a great host, city of Hoover’s been a great host and we acknowledge that,” he said. “Maybe you’re some place (else) eventually and then back (to Hoover). The fact it’s been on my mind is the best presentation of status.”
Scott Rabalais contributed to this report.