The five-year contract extension was announced at a news conference held Tuesday, Oct. 5, at Barron Stadium.
NAIA President and CEO Jim Carr announced the contract extension, saying "You have set a standard in both organization and hospitality, and you have worked hard to make Barron Stadium a venue that will be one of the best for our student athletes and fans for many years to come.
"Rome is known as a remarkable football town," Carr added, "and what a great way to showcase the top teams in the NAIA on a national stage."
Dennis Green, NAIA manager of championship sports, added, "We want to congratulate Dr. Harold Newman, Bill Peterson, and the entire athletics department at Shorter University for submitting an exceptional bid to host the national championship event. The leadership and successful efforts to renovate Barron Stadium were key factors in awarding the national championship to Rome, Ga. It is a credit to Shorter University, the City of Rome, Floyd County, Russell Athletics, Dr. Pepper, the local community, and the entire Host Committee. The success of this event is evidence of your hard work."
Host Committee Co-Chair Bob Berry said, "This is an exciting development and represents a huge endorsement of the efforts of our entire community in putting on this event. The NAIA championship game has a major economic impact on our community, and this is another way our community is putting itself on the sports map across the country. All of us here in Rome and Floyd County should be proud of this day."
Rome is known throughout Georgia as a great football town. Just a short drive from Atlanta (Ga.), Birmingham (Ala.) and Chattanooga (Tenn.), the city is situated amid seven hills at the convergence of three rivers. Rome is recognized for its southern charm and metropolitan culture and has been named one of America's "Best Cities" by Forbes Magazine. With a population of just under 100,000, Rome offers 800 hotel rooms and a venerable stadium that can seat up to 6,500 fans.
"The NAIA championship event is a wonderful representation of what community partnerships can accomplish when we work together," said Shorter University Athletic Director Bill Peterson, who co-chairs the Host Committee. Shorter partnered with the City of Rome and Floyd County to develop the bid that brought the game to Rome. The economic impact of the 2008 contest on the Rome area was some $1.5 million, with the 2009 game generating more than $1.8 million in economic impact. The game also fueled renovations to Barron Stadium, including the recent addition of an artificial turf playing surface.
At the news conference, Berry also announced that Russell Athletic has agreed to extend its title sponsorship of the event through 2015 and that Dr. Pepper will return as a major sponsor through 2015 as well. "Financing the national championship and its surrounding activities is a matter of paramount concern for the host committee, and we are grateful that these national corporations see value in supporting our efforts," Berry said.
Peterson added, "Russell Athletic is a great fit for the NAIA Championship. Their ongoing support of the championship game is highly significant, and the support of Dr. Pepper adds great value and great brand recognition. We look forward to partnering with them throughout the coming years as we celebrate the best of NAIA football."
The NAIA has sponsored football since 1956, when its first championship in the sport was held in Little Rock, Ark. Currently 92 NAIA institutions sponsor the sport of football. Only 16 teams will qualify for postseason play. The two teams vying for the national championship title must advance through first round, quarterfinal and semifinal competition leading up to the championship game in mid December.
This year's championship game will be played Saturday, Dec. 18, at Barron Stadium with kickoff slated for 4:30 p.m. EST. The regular price for game tickets is $25 although the host committee is offering a discounted price of $15 through Dec. 1. Game tickets are available for purchase from The Forum by calling (706) 291-5281, (800) 858-7601, or visiting www.forumevents.org
For more information on the 2010 championship game, visit www.NAIANationalChampionship.com.