Published February 18, 2021
Chattanooga, TN – Chattanooga could be the host of this year’s TSSA BlueCross Bowl if the bid pitched by Chattanooga Sports is selected.
The Tennessee Tech University campus has hosted football championships in the state since 2009. This includes six for public schools and three for private schools hosted last year at Tucker Stadium.
According to the TSSA assistant director, Matthew Gillespie, Chattanooga and Cookeville are the only cities so far working on bids to submit.
The chief officer of Chattanooga Sports, Tim Morgan, said, “It has always been a target of ours to get this championship event here, so when we saw the bid opportunities coming open for this cycle, we began putting together our plan. Our bid will offer both a venue worthy of hosting a state championship as well as a championship experience for players and fans coming into Chattanooga.”
Morgan also said, “I want to be clear that this is not about just our organization. We’re the tip of the spear, but it’s a spear that extends quite a ways because there will be a lot of businesses and people of influence involved in putting this on. This will be about the kids who have worked so hard to achieve a dream, and when they come to Chattanooga we will fulfill a taste of what it’s like to play at the next level.”
The bids to host the title games for the 2021 and 2022 seasons are due by February 26. Chattanooga’s bid would see the games played at Finley Stadium, which has a max capacity of just over 20,000. The stadium is used to host football games for The University of Chattanooga and soccer games for the Chattanooga Football Club.
The TSAA Board of Control will be choosing the winning bid after their meeting on March 16.
Soddy Daisy principal Steve Henry is on the board of control to represent Chattanooga, and he believes Finley Stadium has a lot to offer.
“If you just look at what we have to offer in terms of Finley Stadium’s excellent field, the seating and press box, those are things that really stand out,” Henry said. “For the fans coming in, you could stay in any number of hotels downtown and be able to just walk to several nice restaurants and then to the games. The board will look at the finances from both bid proposals first, of course, and then the other factors would be things like the best facilities, how easy it is for everyone coming in to get to the site and have ample parking, places to eat and things to offer. I believe Chattanooga is in a good place to offer a lot of positives.”
During the championship, there will be three games played over the course of three days, and it usually brings in around 40,000 people. The estimated impact of the sporting event, according to Cookeville-Putnam County Visitors Bureau, is around $2.5 million to $3 million.
The last football state championship held in the Chattanooga area was in 1978.