College Football And Motorsports To Merge For Epic Event (Update) UPDATE This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Tennessee and Virginia Tech will finally play a football game at Bristol Motor Speedway in what is being billed as the "Battle of Bristol.” Track and officials from both universities formally announced the plans Monday during a news conference. The game scheduled for Sept. 10, 2016 will be a national showcase for both programs that could set an NCAA single-game attendance record at the 52-year-old racetrack.
Virginia Tech athletic director Jim Weaver said this is something that he started talking to his Tennessee counterparts about nearly 17 years ago. After all that talking, the rumors and speculation, it's finally going to happen.
Weaver said the game is "a reality that's as big as anything that's happened in the world of football." Bristol's speedway can hold around 160,000 fans. The speedway sits nearly halfway between the campuses of the two schools, off Interstate 81 in Tennessee. The NCAA-recognized attendance record for college football of 115,109 was set last month at Michigan Stadium for Michigan-Notre Dame.
"To be a part of football history is something that's very important to both our universities, our student athletes and everything," said Tennessee coach Butch Jones.
Added Hokies coach Frank Beamer, "Next to lane stadium, this is my favorite sports venue, I promise you."
Hokies vs. Volunteers at BMS first came up in the late 1990s, then again when the track underwent major renovations in 2005. The conversations got serious between the track and school officials last year.
Burton Smith, track owner and president of BMS did not attend Monday's press conference because of a scheduling conflict. But he told The Associated Press everyone wants "to make this a huge, huge deal."
"Our goal is to set a world record for the largest attended football game in the world," he said.10/11/13 According to multiple news sources, an announcement will be made early next week about combining one of the world’s largest arenas with a college football game. The 160,000 seat Bristol Motor Speedway will host a neutral non-conference game between Virginia Tech and Tennessee in 2016. The event is expected to be sold-out.
One of the first sources to announce the information was Bruce Feldman of CBS Sports who tweeted,
“#VaTech to play #Tennessee at Bristol Motor Speedway in 2016, per source. Expected to draw a record 150,000-160k fans.”
Administrators from both schools are said to be planning for appearances next Monday at an official press conference at the Bristol facility. It’s thought the date for the game will be September 10, 2016.