Atlanta Classic brings in big bucks

The 21st annual Bank of America Football Classic brought Florida A&M University 35 percent of the gate revenues from the Georgia Dome on Saturday.

Sharon Saunders, chief communications officer, said the official revenue amount would not be disclosed until later in the year.

“The Atlanta Classic once again has rejuvenated the Atlanta economy in spite of the recession,” said Amanda Laston, coordinator of public relations for the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Laston said the city earned $20 million with more than 54,000 people in attendance.
Otis Threatt, the sponsor relations manager for the 100 Black Men of Atlanta Inc., said this Classic is one of the nation’s largest black college football games.

Threatt said the event is also 100 Black Men of Atlanta’s largest fundraiser for its mentoring, academic support and scholarship program, Project Success. 

The three-year contract with Bank of America Corp., as a title sponsor ended Saturday, according to the Atlanta Business Chronicle.

Although the bank will maintain some level of sponsorship, questions have been raised by classic fans that Bank of America’s downsizing of their financial contribution to the event is due to a failing economy.

Football fans were not discouraged financially from packing the Georgia Dome to cheer on their favorite HBCU teams.

“I’m a true rattler fan, and despite the bad weather in Atlanta and the recession I still attended the game this weekend to support my school and continue the tradition,” said Dominique Lemon, 23, a fourth-year theater student from Tampa. “It was worth it too since we beat TSU once again this year.”

According to Morris Hawkins, the coordinator of budgets for Student Government Association, 360 students paid for the SGA sponsored trip that included transportation, hotel accommodations and a ticket to the game for $90.

At the Atlanta Marriott Marquise in downtown Atlanta, 101 rooms were purchased and 6 charter buses were rented for the trip.

“We thank the students for their participation in the 2009 Bank of America Atlanta Classic and for their support of FAMU and the football team,” Hawkins said.

In an effort to save students money, FAMU SGA has reduced ticket prices for the Oct. 17 football game against South Carolina State.

“[President] Ammons is requesting that each student participate and support the FAMU football team in Orangeburg, S.C., where we will take on South Carolina State which is currently number one in the MEAC… FAMU is Number 2,” Hawkins said.

Tickets for the FAMU vs. South Carolina State game are $40 and will cover the hotel room, transportation and game ticket.  Tickets are on sale in the Student Union ticket office on Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. and 2 p.m. – 3:30 p.m.