Photo by Ted Melton
SEC Baseball Tournament crowd 2016
A record 150,064 people attended the 2016 SEC Baseball Tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium in Hoover, Alabama.
The SEC Baseball Tournament will remain in Hoover for an undetermined amount of time, SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey confirmed today at the conference’s spring meetings in Destin.
Sankey said the conference’s athletic directors voted to authorize him to negotiate and complete an agreement to keep the tournament at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium, but conference officials still must work out how long that agreement will last.
Hoover was one of at least five cities that were bidding to host the tournament from this point forward, including Memphis, Nashville, New Orleans and Jacksonville.
Hoover’s plan to invest at least $70 million in a sports complex adjoining the Hoover Met “very much set that situation apart,” Sankey said.
The 155,000-square-foot indoor event center that Hoover is building right next to the Hoover Met will be available for use as a “fan fair-type atmosphere” with food, some entertainment and other accommodations for the baseball teams, Sankey said.
Also, Hoover offiicials say the adjacent sports complex will include five baseball fields the same size as the Hoover Met that SEC teams can use for practice.
Hoover also is adding about 1,700 parking spaces and plans to expand the RV Park next to the stadium from 145 RV spaces to about 176.
This year’s SEC Baseball Tournament, which finished on Sunday, drew a record 150,064 spectators — up from the previous record of 134,496 in 2013.
Gene Hallman, president and CEO of the Alabama Sports Council, the official organization that made the bid to keep the tournament in Hoover, said in a Facebook post that he is excited about the SEC athletic directors' decision.
"The Alabama Sports Council and the City of Hoover look forward to hosting this great event for many years to come," Hallman wrote. "This year's Tournament featured seven of the nation's top ten teams in the country and established an all-time attendance record of more than 150,000 fans. It was a very competitive bid process, and so many people were involved in our bid, and I thank you all."
The city of Hoover, the Alabama Sports Council and the SEC have scheduled a 2:30 p.m. press conference at the Hoover Met to respond to today’s announcement.
Jon Anderson contributed to this article.