The Post-Gazette obtained both the West Virginia and Alabama contracts for the 2014 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game at Georgia Dome in Atlanta via Freedom of Information Act requests. The details, simplified, were used in concert with an interview with West Virginia athletic director Oliver Luck for Tuesday's story on the rising trend of neutral-site openers — a good way to schedule a top-tier opponent quickly and make a pretty penny doing so.
Here are some of the more interesting notes from the contracts:
• The contracts between Peach Bowl, Inc. (PBI) and West Virginia and Alabama stipulate that in return for both schools agreeing to sell their ticket allotments — 31,000 for Alabama, 25,000 for West Virginia — they are guaranteed a $3.2 million payout for their participation. Both schools also receive a $50,000 donation allocated toward the creation of an endowed scholarship.
• Although Alabama's associate vice president for finance Reba J. Essary signed Alabama's contract with PBI on May 29, 2012, Luck didn't sign West Virginia's contract with PBI until Dec. 3, 2013, just three months ago. The game was initially announced on May 17, 2012, so the reason for the delay in West Virginia's contract is uncertain. Luck did mention in the interview that West Virginia had to do some schedule shuffling.
• Alabama is the home team, will be in the visitor's locker room and wear its crimson jerseys. West Virginia will be in the Atlanta Falcons' home locker room and wear its yellow or blue jersey. PBI will provide uniform patch, helmet sticker and logos for coaches sideline apparel which must be worn during the game
• Since Alabama is the home team, the SEC has first right to telecast the game on CBS. If CBS chooses not to televise it, SEC and ACC will work with ESPN on the telecast network for the night.
• Here is the ticket breakdown ...
• ... and the seating chart.
• Both schools will receive two 20-seat suites, one 95-seat super suit. If a school requests more tickets, PBI will provide up to 6,091 upper-level end zone tickets for additional sales. All other ticket sales generated by PBI will be subject to a three-way split. Teams will each have 70 sideline passes.
• The east end zone will be painted in West Virginia's normal stencil, the west end zone in Alabama's normal stencil. There will be an event logo at midfield and another at each of the 25-yard lines.
• On-field and replay officials will be from a neutral conference.
• Both schools agree to utilize their own ticket buyer email databases, social network tools (Facebook and Twitter), and football web sites to promote the fan activities and tickets for all Kickoff Game events. Both schools will agree to send no fewer than 1 email blast per month in June, July and August to ticket buyers of this game, and will agree to post at least once per month in June, July and August to the official football Facebook Page, and to tweet through the official twitter account at least once per month in June, July and August.
• West Virginia is tentatively scheduled to have 100 rooms at the Renaissance Waverly galleria, while Alabama has 135 rooms at OMNI hotel.
And here's some of the sillier small stuff of the contract that is still worth a chuckle or two.
• Two to three weeks leading up to the game, PBI will run local promotion called “Spirit Day” at nearby Chick-fil-A. Both teams will provide cheerleaders. (Good thing Morgantown has a Chick-fil-A! Marketing dot com.)
• Teams agree that during their spring games they will allow PBI/Chick-fil-A to activate promotional activities to generate excitement and ticket sales — in-stadium media; complimentary Chick-fil-A food for media (yes, please), staff and teams.
• West Virginia does not manage appearances of school mascot. It will work with PBI to manage any appearances that may be requested.
• Both teams are contractually obligated to promote team-specific tailgates if PBI chooses to create them, and the teams agree to "send no fewer than 1 email blast per month in June, July and August to ticket buyers of the game, and will agree to post at least once per month in June, July and August to the official Facebook Page, and to tweet the official football twitter account at least once per month in June, July and August.