BRISTOL — A longtime dream for many local football fans has become a reality.
Bristol Motor Speedway, Tennessee and Virginia Tech officially announced plans for the “Battle at Bristol” during a special media event Monday.
Slated to be the biggest college football game of all-time thanks to Bristol’s estimated seating capacity of 150,000-plus, the event on Saturday, September 10, 2016 at the half-mile coliseum of motorsports will add to the legend of BMS.
“There has always been a desire by fans to see a football game at our historic speedway,” said track owner Bruton Smith in a track press release. “We couldn’t be more excited to turn this long-time rumor into a reality and provide sports fans with an unforgettable, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to be a part of the biggest college football game ever.”
Tennessee head coach Butch Jones and athletic director Dave Hart were joined by Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer and athletic director Jim Weaver for an hour-long spectacle that included pyrotechnics, race car unveilings and a track-side tailgate before over 100 media representatives and a number of area dignitaries.
Both coaches, who have each served as a grand marshal in prior races at the track, are excited about the boost the game will provide each program both economically and through recruiting.
“To be able to play in front of a crowd that is the largest to ever see a college football game is a once in a lifetime opportunity,” said Beamer. “With the great fan support that (Tech and Tennessee) have, it should be a great atmosphere.”
Said Jones: “We are looking forward to this opportunity to be a part of college football history. The chance to play in a great venue as Bristol Motor Speedway against a program the caliber of Virginia Tech is another illustration of how we are continuing to build upon our great and unique tradition here at Tennessee.”
Track officials noted preparation for the game will follow immediately after the August 2016 NASCAR weekend at the track utilizing approximately 400 workers to clean, detail and organize the facility for the game.
Future ticket and game announcements will be released in the future at the BattleAtBristol.com Web site.
For more information on the future game, including an in-depth prospective from both programs, see Tuesday’s Elizabethton Star.