HOOVER, Ala. (WIAT) — SEC Media Days won’t have quite the same feel this year, but the event will still be a big deal for the city of Hoover.

Media from around the Southeast will assemble at the Wynfrey Hotel Monday through Thursday next week to hear from SEC coaches and players ahead of the 2021 football season. The event was conducted virtually last year, so it’s the first time Hoover has hosted it since 2019. It’s always a big opportunity for the city.

“We do the best we can to have events like this here, and obviously this is one of the top things to have in your city,” Hoover city councilor Mike Shaw said.

Fans will not be allowed inside the hotel during the event this year. Crowds typically gather there to see their favorite coaches and players. The SEC announced this week that, in accordance with the the conference’s COVID-19 safety protocol, fans will have to gather outside this year, and they won’t be allowed to get autographs. From the city of Hoover’s perspective, however, that’s okay. Shaw said it’s not the crowd (which typically isn’t huge) that makes the event big for Hoover, it’s the exposure.

“We believe we have a great city, and anytime people have a chance to see what we have here, we think that’s a good thing, and so it’s just meant great publicity,” he said.

Just having media in town is a big deal in itself. They come from all corners of the SEC footprint to cover the annual gathering. ESPN and the SEC Network will televise Media Days nationally.

“When you have these top-tier communicators in the press come to your city, you want them talking about how wonderful it is,” Shaw said. “We know that when people come to Hoover, they will love it. And to have these excellent communicators in the press come and be in Hoover, we know they’re going to talk about it, too.”

SEC Media Days begin Monday. Alabama coach Nick Saban and Crimson Tide players speak to the media Wednesday. Auburn’s day at the podium Thursday.