Classic for Columbus’ HBCU rivalry game gets venue upgrade

Columbus Business First

COLUMBUS (COLUMBUS BUSINESS FIRST) — The football rivalry game between two Historically Black Colleges and Universities as part of the Classic for Columbus has gotten a venue upgrade: It will now take place at the much larger Ohio Stadium in August.

The event was originally scheduled for the 20,000-seat Historic Crew Stadium, but now the Aug. 28 football game between Central State University and Kentucky State University will take place at a venue that is five times the size. Ohio Stadium has a capacity of about 102,000.

Tickets went on sale for the event on Thursday; they can be purchased online. The four-day event will take place Aug. 25 to 29.

“We are excited to bring the Classic for Columbus football game back to the ’Shoe,” Classic for Columbus CEO John Pace said in a news release. “It has been 25 years since our football game has been played in Ohio Stadium so bringing this tradition back is exceptionally exciting.”

Gene Smith, Ohio State University’s athletics director, said OSU looks forward to creating a “memorable” experience for fans.

The football game, which is part of a four-day event featuring educational and cultural programming celebrating African American culture, is being presented by Nationwide and Huntington Bank. Columbus Business First is also a sponsor of the event.

The game and associated events are expected to raise more than $300,000 for scholarships and education.

Organizers are hoping to draw an audience from a 350-mile radius around Columbus. They previously stated they hoped to draw about 20,000 people to the event.

Columbus used to host a similar event in the 1990s at Ohio State University before it left to rotate between Cincinnati and Cleveland, Pace previously said.

The event is expected to help the city recover from Covid-19’s economic impact on the tourism sector.

Celia Anderson, national sales manager at the Greater Columbus Sports Commission, previously told us that the group is expected to contract about 1,000 hotel rooms in downtown Columbus.

“The impact this will have on our businesses is incomparable, especially our restaurants and bars,” Anderson said in a previous interview. “Given the year we’ve all had, it’s nice to see some light at the end of the tunnel.”

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