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Official Review by Brian Jones, Stadium Journey Regional Correspondent
The Georgia Dome has hosted the SEC Championship game since 1994 and because of the level of competition of the SEC, the games and the atmosphere has been out of this world.
The 2013 game was no different as Auburn and Missouri went to battle. Auburn won the game, but both fan bases showed energy and enthusiasm throughout the entire contest.
The Georgia Dome is not an SEC Stadium and when push comes to shove, it’s more of an NFL stadium. But there is something that makes the Dome an attractive place for the SEC to come back year in and year out.
And with the College Football Hall of Fame opening right down the street, the Georgia Dome will host the SEC Championship game for a very long time.
The FANFARE scale is our metric device for rating each stadium experience. It covers the following:
Each area is rated from 0 to 5 stars with 5 being the best. The overall composite score is the "FANFARE Score".
The food at the Georgia Dome does not change for the SEC title game. So you will get chicken fingers, fries, pizza, and hot dogs for an average stadium price.
The one thing that makes the Georgia Dome unique compared to other stadiums is there is a Taco Mac inside the stadium. So if you are in the mood for something different, Taco Mac is the place to be.
That said, you can't get alcohol inside the stadium due to SEC rules. However, there are beer vendors all over the Georgia World Congress Center. And there is a Dantana's and a Taco Mac right next the stadium. So the alcohol options are there, just not inside the Georgia Dome.
Normally, sitting in the upper level of a football stadium would not be the most fun place to watch a game of this caliber. But you also don't want to miss any of the action, so the upper level seats along the 50-yard line are the best place to go.
The suites at the Georgia Dome would be the next best thing. It's more intimate and food and drinks are an arm's length away.
The marching bands really stand out at this event. I love to watch college marching bands and both schools put on a show during halftime. And with the new video boards that were put in a few years back, missing a key moment in the game is a thing of the past because the screens are very easy to view replays and live action.
Because the Georgia Dome is located in the heart of Atlanta, there is always something to see and do.
The two best places to go for restaurants/bars are Hudson Grille and Stats. Both places have a wide variety of food and drinks as well as televisions to watch any game you want.
But if you are looking for something else to do, the Georgia Aquarium and the World of Coca-Cola are only a few blocks away. As of the fall of 2014, the College Football Hall of Fame is open right down the street.
Because the Georgia Dome is a neutral site stadium for the SEC title game, there are no permanent chants or certain traditions to follow. But the fans from each school are passionate and they bring their own chants to the Georgia Dome, which is quite the site.
Both fan bases are smart and know what to do at all times. Because this is the SEC, there are times where the fans can be too intense and too emotional. But that's what makes going to these games so much fun.
The Georgia Dome is located in the heart of downtown Atlanta, it's really easy to get to.
There are several options to take in terms of transportation. Taking MARTA which is the transit station is the best option. MARTA takes you right to the stadium and it's only $5 to make a round-trip.
Driving is not bad either, but you have to leave early to avoid the heavy traffic . And parking won't be cheap as it will cost you at least $20.
The concourse is big so getting to and from your seat won't be an adventure. And the security / gate check experience is harmless and easy.
The face value of my ticket was $100 and that was in the upper level. But the majority of fans paid double for tickets like mine and triple for other tickets.
The tickets may be a bit pricey, but if you are a fan of either one of the teams playing in the SEC Championship game, the price is worth the experience because there is no telling when or if your team will be playing in the game again.
The SEC Fanfare, which is located next to the Georgia Dome, is a place where fans can learn about the history of the SEC. It's a great way to kill some time before the game.
At every seat, there is a bag of little gifts for fans to take home. It is mostly coupons and medicine, but free is free.
The programs and souvenirs are definitely worth buying, especially if your team wins. It's a little pricey, but these will be things you can tell your grandchildren about years from now.
The Georgia Dome has been home of the Falcons, Georgia State football and the Chick-fil-A Bowl. So hosting the SEC Championship comes natural to them. From the fans to the city life in Atlanta, the Georgia Dome is the place to be in early December.
Legion Field, which was the original host of the SEC Championship, was a good place to get the ball rolling. But when the Georgia Dome took over, it took the game and the conference to new heights.
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