The ASSOCIATED PRESS reports that the Southeastern Conference plans to offer ticket refunds for tornado-tampered tournament games - a move that could cost the conference up to $2.5 million.
A tornado touched down in downtown Atlanta during the Mississippi State- Alabama game on March 14, causing damage to the Georgia Dome. As a result, the remaining SEC tourney games were moved from the 26,000 seat dome to Georgia Tech’s 9,000-seat Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Because of the disparity in seating, the SEC limited attendance the final two days to athletes’ families, cheerleaders, bands and other credentialed workers, such as the media. Georgia’s victory over Arkansas in the championship game was watched by an estimated 3,700 fans - far short of the 20,000 that likely would have attended at the Georgia Dome.
Which means the league also lost out on additional concession revenue - t-shirts, hats, cokes, nachos, etc.
As for the tickets, the SEC is offering a maximum refund of $125 for all affected games. However, refunds will only be made for tickets purchased through the league, the Georgia Dome, or one of the league’s 12 schools.
Total cost of the refunds could reach $2.5 million. Who’s gonna pay for Nick Saban’s & Les Miles’ contracts now?