The College Football Hall of Fame's New Home Away from Home
I recently came across an article detailing the great successes that the College Football Hall of Fame is having in its new home in Atlanta. In this article, the author made sure to point out that the failures of the Hall of Fame were due to its prior location, South Bend, Indiana. I grew up in South Bend, and I remember the good times I spent at the Hall, so I took a little offense to the slander. I remember visiting the Hall of Fame with my family and recording videos for my high school Spanish projects on the 30-yard turf field leading to the front door. Despite these good times, no amount of fond memories will change the fact that Atlanta is a bigger market than South Bend, and it made sense to move.
The Hall has profited off of the big market attractions of Atlanta in a way South Bend could never compete. Since the Hall moved to Atlanta, South Bend has hosted the Winter Classic, a Minor League Baseball All-Star Game, and a Pitbull concert that Pitbull himself never showed up to. During that same time, Atlanta has hosted the Super Bowl, the SEC Championship, two College Football Playoff games, and a College Football National Championship. Each of these events brings thousands of avid college football fans to Atlanta looking for somewhere to go during their stay in Atlanta. The Hall of Fame capitalizes during events like these, hosting nine events during Super Bowl week. During the SEC Championship weekend, the Hall made more than $180,000 alone that weekend. Comparatively, the South Bend building that used to hold the Hall of Fame was sold for $525,000. I can concede that having the College Football Hall of Fame makes more business sense to be held in Atlanta in a $68.5 million facility.
Despite the evident financial benefits of the move, part of the relocation still doesn’t sit well with me. South Bend is a college football town, Atlanta is not, at least not as much. Atlanta has Georgia Tech, and the University of Georgia is an hour and a half away, but neither compares to Notre Dame’s historical, social, and financial importance to South Bend. The culture of South Bend revolves around and relies upon Notre Dame football, unlike Atlanta, who have the Hawks, Falcons, Braves, and Atlanta United FC fighting for attention.
Reminiscing on my time spent at the College Football Hall of Fame as a kid, I know how enjoyable a visit is, but I also know that it is probably in a better place. Atlanta is a destination for sports fans that the Hall can capitalize on. South Bend cannot attract the same crowd, and there are only so many times the same South Bend resident can go to the same museum, causing the depressed revenue as time passed. Although I can understand the move from a financial perspective, the little kid in me still rejects the logic of the move, instead wishing to see if I could finally move the tackling dummies I never could before.