Big Spending in the SEC, Plus Bowl Thoughts

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VT Lags Behind the SEC in Budget and Stadium Size

Virginia Tech and the SEC have been a hot topic recently, at least amongst the VT fan base and SEC fans.  If the SEC were to expand again, Tech would likely be their #1 choice for a number of reasons.

1: Adding a new state to the SEC, which greatly increases the value of a future SEC Network.  This is why the Hokies are more valuable to the SEC than teams like Clemson and Florida State.  The SEC already has schools in those states.

2: Passionate fan base.  Tech fans would fit right in with SEC fans when it comes to passion for their program.

3: A winning program.  Virginia Tech is the winningest program in college football since 1995.  That says a lot.

Unfortunately, Tech would have some catching up to do with the rest of the league when it comes to spending on athletics.  I found that there is a direct correlation to stadium size and athletic budget for the SEC teams, plus Virginia Tech and NC State (I’m just throwing the Wolfpack in there, just to get a 16th team).  The numbers for Virginia Tech are taken from the recent financial article written by Randy Jones.  The rest of the numbers are from an article in the Sports Business Journal from last August.  I can’t confirm that they are 100% accurate, but I think they give us a pretty good idea of how things stack up.

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Tennessee has the biggest stadium and the biggest athletic budget.  Alabama is right behind them at #2 in stadium size and #3 in athletic budget.  South Carolina, despite having a stadium that seats over 80,000 people, is middle of the pack in both size and budget.  Virginia Tech would have just the 12th biggest football stadium in the new 16-team SEC, and only the 11th biggest athletic budget.  It’s quite a jolt that Kentucky has a much bigger overall athletics budget, and they also have a slightly bigger football stadium.

If the Hokies did join the SEC, I think we would see an immediate hike in football ticket prices.  I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw ticket prices increase from $48 to $60 in the matter of one season, with SEC teams coming to Lane Stadium.  With an increase of $12 per ticket and six or seven home games, the