The Hoover Met has been successful, by most account, in hosting the tourney: the former suburban home of the Birmingham Barons (Class AA; Southern League) has been upgraded after requests from SEC officials, and with 132,178 fans attending 17 games, this year’s attendance was just 2,000 fans shy of 2013’s record.
However, with a new commissioner in the form of Greg Sankey coming onboard Aug. 1, it’s highly likely the future of the tourney at the Met will be reevaluated. On the one hand, there are many MiLB venues whose management would be interested in the tournament, but there aren’t that many ballparks with the ability to host a crowd over 10,000. And most pro venue managers would not be able or willing to adapt a ballpark solely to keep SEC officials happy, as Hoover has done, per AL.com:
In 2012 Hoover officials added a new sound system, big-screen TVs at the concession stands and upgraded the restrooms in the concourse.
Since then, much of the stadium has been repainted, the parking lot has been repaved, the bullpens have moved from the sidelines to behind the outfield fence, batting cages have been added and the fence on the field was moved in to more closely resemble the one at TD Ameritrade Park Omaha, which hosts the College World Series….
The soon-to-be SEC commissioner was reluctant to speak on the future of the event, saying that, in June, the league will take some time to evaluate how this year’s SEC Baseball Tournament went and potential future options.
The SEC baseball tourney is by far the most well-attended and successful college baseball tournament, and SEC officials will have the financial muscle to make some demands. However, you’d got to put some money on Hoover retaining the event: nothing like success as an argument for renewal.