By David Knox, Sports Editor
HOOVER — The Southeastern Conference Baseball Tournament will return to the Hoover Met, Commissioner Greg Sankey announced from the SEC Spring Meetings in Destin, Fla.
The SEC’s athletics directors have authorized Sankey to negotiate and finalize an agreement with the Alabama Sports Council and the City of Hoover to hold the SEC Baseball Tournament at the Met beginning in 2017 for an as-yet-unspecified length of time.
Indications are it will stay in Hoover from three to five years.
“Hoover has an investment planned in a $70 million campus around the baseball stadium, and there will be an event center adjacent to where right field is currently,” Sankey said. “It’s just outside the footprint of the stadium and will be available for a fanfare-type atmosphere.
“In 2018 there are plans for six practice fields immediately adjacent to the current baseball stadium, and one of those will mirror the exact dimensions of the Hoover Met. Our teams can warm up there and our fans can see that rather than standing outside waiting for their team to play when a game may run long. We have another 1,500 parking spaces coming and improvements to the RV lot. Our student-athletes also have the opportunity to stay at one of two quality properties. We look forward to working with Hoover to finalize that agreement and continuing on the success of this year’s tournament.”
Hoover faced tough competition to keep the event. Memphis, Nashville, Jacksonville, Fla., and New Orleans all were vying to land the tournament. The tourney has been in Hoover for the past 19 years and it drew an SEC record 150,064 last week.