Aug 19, 2013
Cleveland, Ohio - The Mid-American Conference announced today the creation of the Camellia Bowl, a newly created bowl game to begin in 2014, which will be based in Montgomery, Alabama, owned and operated by ESPN. The Camellia Bowl will feature a MAC bowl eligible football program to face a member of the Sun Belt Conference for the next six consecutive football seasons (2014-2019) in a pre-Christmas game televised nationally by ESPN or ESPN2.
"The Mid-American Conference is proud to partner in the creation of the Camellia Bowl beginning with the 2014 season," said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Mid-American Conference Commissioner. "The historic Cramton Bowl will be a great venue for our student-athletes and fans. Additionally, Montgomery's entertainment district will provide a fun and lively bowl experience for all involved. I want to thank all parties involved for their diligence in creating this event, especially Montgomery mayor Todd Strange."
The Camellia Bowl will be played in the Cramton Bowl, a 25,000 seat stadium that has undergone significant renovations over the last several years, including a new press box facility, locker rooms and VIP hospitality accommodations.
Beginning in the 2014 bowl season, the Camellia Bowl will be the third bowl game where the MAC is a primary bowl partner. The MAC has long-term primary contracts with the Go Daddy Bowl (based in Mobile, Ala.) through the 2017 season and Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (based in Boise, Idaho) through the 2019 season.
Northern Illinois defeated Arkansas State in the GoDaddy.com Bowl in Mobile following the 2011 season and won the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (then called the Humanitarian Bowl) in Boise the previous year. The Huskies have played in bowl games in each of the last five years.
"The Raycom All-Star game helped shine a new light on the city of Montgomery, and we took notice," said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President & GM, ESPN Regional Television. "From stadium improvements and opportunities for quality hospitality, to the downtown hotel properties, rich history and the wonderful museums like the Rosa Parks Center, it all came together for us. We have two conference partners excited about the bowl, a community we believe is hungry for a quality postseason event and civic and business leaders that have a great can-do spirit."
Johnny Williams, former Athletic Director at Troy University for ten years and Senior Associate Athletic Director at the University of Alabama for three years, will be the Bowl's Executive Director. Williams is the current CEO of Creative Marketing Management (CMM) and his group will manage the event and day-to-day operations of the bowl.
Founded in 1946, the Mid-American Conference is an NCAA Division I, 12-member conference that sponsors 23 championships and is one of ten members of the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS). With total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students, the league represents institutions of higher learning in six (6) states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. In addition a 13th school-University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.--is an affiliate member for football.
Current MAC schools that hold full membership and the year they joined are -- East Division: University of Akron (1992), Bowling Green State University (1952), University at Buffalo (1998), Kent State University (1951), Miami University (1947), Ohio University (1946). West Division: Ball State University (1973), Central Michigan University (1971), Eastern Michigan University (1971), Northern Illinois University (1975-86, rejoined in 1997), University of Toledo (1950), Western Michigan University (1947). The University of Massachusetts (2012) competes in the East Division in football only.
-- MAC --
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