SEC Media Days begins

HOOVER, AL (WBRC) - Wednesday marks the start of SEC Media Days in Hoover. This year's crowd is expected to be the biggest ever.

Media Days kicks off as the city of Hoover and the NCAA announce the 2011 NCAA men's soccer championship will be played at Regions Park.

More than one-thousand media credentials were issued for the next three days. That is the largest number ever for SEC Media Days. That means restaurants, hotels and even the Riverchase Galleria will see an increase in customers.

The lobby will likely be packed with fans today. University of Alabama Coach Nick Saban and several Tide players will be the first team featured this year.

Inside the Wynfrey Hotel on Tuesday, conference staffers were busy setting up tables and getting Radio Row ready for the dozen of sports talk shows from all across the south who will broadcast live from the hotel.
Satellite trucks are already set up outside the hotel and sports marketing expert Gene Hallman says hosting the Media Days has a major impact for the metro area beyond the crowds of journalists and talk show hosts filling up the hotels and restaurants. "The dateline for all these stories generated via the web or print says 'Birmingham, AL' throughout the country and, to a certain extent, throughout the world," says Gene Hallman. "You have a record number of journalists coming into town for Media Days this year, to have the SEC headquartered is invaluable as we try and go out and recruit."

Gene Hallman and the Bruno Events Team helped land the NCAA men's soccer championships for Hoover, an event he says may get even bigger before it ever starts.
Tourism officials say it is too soon to tell how much money the championship will bring in because we do not know yet which teams will be playing.

The event will be in December 2011. It takes place a mile from the Galleria and that will mean big bucks for Hoover.

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