SEC Championship Game to have crowd of 16,500

Sports

FILE – In this Dec. 5, 2014, file photo, SEC logo is displayed on the field ahead of the Southeastern Conference championship football game between Alabama and Missouri in Atlanta. Southeastern Conference chancellors and school presidents have approved revised rules on the sale of beer and wine at sporting events. The SEC’s 14 schools were previously prohibited from selling alcohol in public areas at venues. (AP Photo/John Bazemore, File)

The Southeastern Conference championship game between No. 1 Alabama and No. 6 Florida will be played before a socially distanced crowd of 16,500 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

The game is set for Dec. 19 at the 75,000-seat, retractable-roof facility. All tickets have been sold, according to the SEC.

Face coverings must be worn inside the stadium at all times. Tailgating will be allowed up to five hours before the 8 p.m. kickoff, but one empty space must be maintained between each vehicle.

This will be the largest crowd to attend a football game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium since the pandemic began. The NFL’s Atlanta Falcons have been playing before a restricted capacity of less than 10,000 fans.

This will be the ninth time Alabama and Florida have met in the SEC title game, which has been played in Atlanta since 1994.

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LSU has dropped out of the Holiday Hoopsgiving quadrupleheader set for Saturday at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

Tournament organizers announced that Wofford would replace the Tigers, who withdrew from the event because of a possible COVID-19 exposure.

Wofford will now take on South Florida in the second of four games to be held throughout the day and evening at the home of the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.

The other games are: Mississippi State vs. Dayton; Memphis vs. Auburn; and Clemson vs. Alabama.

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The Atlantic Coast Conference says it will allow limited fans to attend its football championship game between No. 2 Notre Dame and No. 4 Clemson on Dec. 19.

The state of North Carolina previously issued public-gathering restrictions for outdoor venues because of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing schools to fill 7% of their stadium capacity for fans. Following that guidance, the ACC said Wednesday that capacity would be set at 5,240 for Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte.

The league says fans and staff must wear masks in the stadium and follow social-distancing markers displayed throughout the stadium.

Stories via The Associated Press

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