Contract reveals details of Battle at Bristol deal - WRBL

Contract reveals details of Battle at Bristol deal

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BRISTOL, TN (WJHL) -

What will likely be college football's biggest game ever is still three years away, but the details of the Battle at Bristol are already in black and white.

Although Bristol Motor Speedway, Virginia Tech and University of Tennessee made it official Monday, the three actually agreed on terms for the September 10th, 2016 game early last week.

Through a public records request, News Channel 11 obtained that contract. In it, everything from the color of the teams' uniforms to payout is already in ink.

Everyone involved is hoping the game is a sellout. If so, it'd break the all-time attendance record for a college football game.

It would also send both Virginia Tech and University of Tennessee each home with a $300,000 bonus. That's on top of the millions both schools are set to make.

The contract lays it all out. Each team will get 40,000 tickets to sell to its fans.

If they each sell all 40,000 tickets, BMS guarantees it will pay each school $4 million. If UT and Virginia Tech only sell 32,500 of their tickets, they'll each walk away with $3.75 million. If they can sell just 25,000 tickets, they'll get a payout of $3.5 million.

If the game is canceled between now and kick-off, BMS has pledged to pay both schools $4 million.

Each school will also get 1,000 tickets at no charge, three BMS suites and 80 sideline passes.

Although all parties signed the agreement, we're told the terms are not necessarily set in stone.

"The contract has not been finalized," a Virginia Tech spokesperson said in an email. "This is an initial starting point and prices/conditions could change as the contract is drafted and finalized."

Overall, the terms of the Battle at Bristol appear harmless. However, the hotel assigned to host UT that weekend isn't completely happy.

MeadowView Marriott in Kingsport General Manager Andy King says although thrilled to be a part of the Battle at Bristol, the hotel wishes it was more involved with the process.

"We weren't in the loop at all, which was a little disappointing to us," King said. "We're very happy to have the business. We're very happy to be a host hotel. We're very happy to be doing this, but we'd certainly love for them to do business with us one-on-one."

Instead, King says a third-party reserved the hotel rooms well in advance of the Battle at Bristol announcement and never told the hotel why the rooms were needed. King says the problem there is that the rates were much lower when the rooms were booked.

"The rates have changed since then," King said. "We certainly have rooms to sell and we'll adjust the rate."

That said, King says more than half of the hotels rooms are now booked. That means hotels that aren't hosting the teams stand to potentially make more money because they'll have more rooms available and will be able to charge higher rates.

BMS Executive Vice President and General Manager Jerry Caldwell says everyone who will benefit should be grateful the football game is even a reality.

"We are excited that this is a tremendous opportunity for our region," Caldwell said. "We're all going to benefit from this. It's not every day that a region gets to have two Super Bowls, if you will, for our NASCAR race weekends already and for us to be able to drop another Super Bowl weekend into this is going to be a great benefit to this entire region and I think we ought to be thankful for what we're getting. Let's all focus on how blessed we are that this event has finally come together. It's been 17 years in the making."

Although ticket information for the general public is expected later this year, the agreement says prices will range from $40 to $140.

BMS season ticket holders are guaranteed tickets. Some have even already put down their deposit to reserve their seats for the game.

"We have already reserved tickets from our season ticket holders and they're very excited about 2016 already," Caldwell said. "We're very pleased. We've had a great response from the race fans, a lot of enthusiasm. It's fun to be a part of something that is so universally accepted and such enthusiasm around it."


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