Rome has been home to the championship since 2008 and in 2010 was awarded a contract to host the game through 2015. As plans were being made for the 2012 game, the NAIA approached the Rome Host Committee asking to end the current agreement after the 2013 championship game.
“Since that conversation, we have been talking with our partners – the City of Rome, Floyd County, Shorter University, and the Greater Rome Convention and Visitors Bureau,” said Host Committee Co-Chair Bob Berry. “We realized that this championship relationship wouldn’t work well if we aren’t in full partnership. When we first bid on this game in 2007, Rome had two NAIA schools. Since that time, both Shorter and Berry have moved into the NCAA, and the NAIA has expressed an interest in moving the game to an NAIA site. While we were disappointed in that decision, we certainly understand their point of view and have agreed to the change in contract terms.”
The NAIA has posted a call for bids to host the championship on its Website. Bids are due next summer and will include hosting the 2014 and 2015 championship games.
Berry added that, while the contract term has been shortened, Rome will continue to serve as the host site for two additional games. “The NAIA championship has generated a lot of economic impact over the past four years. We essentially still have one-third of the contract term ahead of us. The host committee understands that we should take every opportunity to continue to put on a successful event.
“Finishing strong is important as we continue to build the sports resume of our community. While the NAIA contract is ending early, the change allows us to put ourselves in a position to bid on other events.”
Over the past four years, Berry added, the championship game has generated more than $6 million in economic impact for the Greater Rome community. It is estimated that another $3.5 million will be generated over the next two years, resulting in a total financial boost of almost $10 million during a very difficult economic time.
“In addition to a substantial boost to the local economy, the change in the area in and around West Third Street has been incredible,” Berry said. “The championship game has been a win-win for the community, for Rome-Floyd Parks and Recreation Authority, Rome High School, Shorter University, and for everyone else who utilizes Barron Stadium.”
Berry added that the host committee continues to move forward with enthusiasm about hosting both the 2012 and 2013 championship games. “Rome, Ga., will continue to return to the national stage for these two championship games,” he said, “and we encourage the community to support the championships. We are actively seeking sponsors, and tickets will be on sale later this month. We want to do an outstanding job of hosting this event and showcase the incredible hospitality of our community.”
The 2012 championship will be played on Thursday, Dec. 13, with kickoff slated for 6:30 p.m.
For a schedule of events for the 2012 championship game, visit www.NAIANationalChampionship.com.