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ESPN, SEC Contract Part of Perfect Storm Killing Athens (GA) Businesses
In a smaller college town like Athens, Georgia, football season is more than a sport played in the late summer and fall. It is the economic engine that keeps many downtown Athens businesses, hotels, and restaurants afloat for much of the rest of the year. It is also a sport that, in theory, provides much needed sales tax revenue for the Unified Government of Athens-Clarke County.
But something has changed this year as the Southeastern Conference (SEC) enters the first year of a 15-year television contract with CBS Sports and ESPN. Businesses in downtown Athens are hurting.