Alabama and Georgia kick off in the SEC Championship Saturday afternoon, and sports bars around the Birmingham and Hoover area are preparing to host large crowds of fans watching the game.
Baumhower’s draws lots of fans on all college football Saturdays, but they could have even more customers this Saturday – not just because of the magnitude of the game, but because it’s not an Alabama home game. Many fans that won’t be traveling to Atlanta to see the game in person will watch it at bars like Baumhower’s.
“When the games are out of town, we tend to have a bigger crowd here – people coming to watch the game here and eat our great food and enjoy the game since they don’t have tickets to go to the game,” Baumhower’s general manager Craig Parker said.
Not everyone will watch the game at the bar – some will choose instead to check it out from home. But even those fans provide business on such a big weekend.
“We have a huge carry out business for these games,” Parker said. “So it starts early in the morning, and they start calling in, placing their orders, and it’s a steady steam all day long for us, so that’s really good.”
The game is a rematch of last year’s national championship, which Alabama won in overtime. Many fans expect this game to be close, as well, and that can be good for business, too.
“They’re saying it’s like a 13-point margin, but I feel no one believes that,” Todd Beegle, general manager of On Tap Sports Cafe, said. “Everyone thinks it’s going to be a little closer than that. So I think there’s a lot of excitement about that.”
Beegle expects to have a busy Saturday at his bar, and not just because of the Crimson Tide. He’ll also tune the bar’s TVs to other championship games, which can have an impact on the College Football Playoff, and as a result, Alabama. But the Conference USA championship game also will be popular, with UAB facing Middle Tennessee. Reegle says he’s started ot see a lot of Blazers fans this season.
“They’re going upwards so you’re seeing more and more people who would request UAB,” he said. “Also you’re seeing them more on television which is a big deal because you don’t always see them on actual broadcast, so I think that’s a big deal, too.”
UAB plays at Middle Tennessee Saturday at 12:30 p.m. Alabama and Georgia square off in Atlanta at 3 p.m. on CBS.