First, three of the four major sponosors are rooted in Atlanta. Conceptually, I knew this, but didn't think about it until I was reading the article. They they actually addressed it. Between Home Depot, AT&T, and Coke, they are only lacking Delta for the Atlanta slam. The reason, Atlanta is the center of the college football firmament.
It isn't an accident they are almost always at the SEC Championship game. They are almost always at the CFA kickoff game. Don't be surprised when they are in Atlanta for the Peach Bowl when it hosts the semi-finals. There is a chicken and egg relationship here. Atlanta is the largest American city that is a true college football town.
One other interesting thing is their selection process for GameDay locations:
From a list as long as five or six games each week, Fitting and the “GameDay” crew — Chris Fowler, Kirk Herbstreit, Lee Corso and Desmond Howard — talk about the merits of each potential road trip. While Fitting runs point on the meeting, Fowler, the primary host, and Herbstreit, the show’s most visible personality, typically have the most input.Now, that won't quell those that think Herbie is biased against UGA, but that also makes sense. ESPN's brass is involved, too:
By the time Fitting left the “GameDay” set and flew home to his Connecticut home that Saturday night at 10, the emails were still flying back and forth with Mark Gross, ESPN’s senior vice president and executive producer, and John Wildhack, executive vice president, production.
“John has the ultimate say,” Fitting said. “But rarely is there ever any pushback.”That is where the ESPN connection comes in. Of course, they say their is no network bias, noting
ESPN does not discriminate over which broadcaster has the game at that site. On several occasions, “GameDay” has traveled to a game that’s being televised by CBS or Fox.Again, it could be a chicken and egg thing. CBS only broadcasts 15 games a year, including the SEC Championship game, with ABC carried 42 games on a national or split national basis last year. In 2012, four of their regular season games, including the SECCG, were GameDay sites. That math suggests randomness, too.
“There’s no real formula and there’s no concern over the network broadcasting the game,” Fitting said.
And no one, Fitting emphasizes, other than those who work on “GameDay,” have a voice in the decision. Even the highest-level sponsors don’t know where the show is going until a public announcement is made on Sundays.
Still, with #3 Ohio State playing Wisconsin, I'd be shocked if they forgo the opportunity to be in Columbus, even for a top 10 match-up in Athens. For my money, we'll see them in Jacksonville this year.