ESPN is reporting that Tennessee and Virginia Tech have agreed to a 2016 game at Bristol Motor Speedway. The article notes that the game could draw as many as 160,000 fans. It is about a 2-hour drive between both schools. As you likely know, Tennessee’s stadium seats in excess of 100,000 fans, while Virginia Tech regularly breaks the 60,000 barrier. So that estimate makes some sense.
This continues the spirit of playing games in strange places. We have seen hockey games in baseball stadiums and football stadiums. We have seen college football games in baseball stadiums. We have seen college basketball games on aircraft carriers. Why not play a football game in a race track? All things consider, it sounds pretty cool. Two programs with great fan bases get to enjoy a very meaningful game. Also, these are two football programs that routinely play tough out-of-conference games too.
It will be interesting to see about the television rights though. Will it go to the SEC, with their network? Will it just be an ESPN game? Will it be a home game for the ACC? If there was an ACC Network, it could be simulcast on both an SEC Network and ACC Network. But, alas, there is not. And will not be in 2016.