ESPN announced today the start of a new college football bowl game in Montgomery, Ala., involving teams from the Sun Belt and Mid-American conferences.
If that sounds familiar, it’s because organizers of the new Legends Bowl are hoping to sign deals with the same leagues for a bowl game at The Citadel’s 20,000-seat Johnson Hagood Stadium starting in December 2014.
Legends Bowl officials say the Montgomery bowl, dubbed the “Camellia Bowl”, will not impact Charleston’s chances of landing a bowl game. The Legends Bowl had first looked at Montgomery as a possible home for its game before switching to Charleston.
As demonstrated by the Montgomery game, there is growing demand for additional bowl games for the NCAA’s smaller conferences, which have new money coming in from the College Football Playoff contract.
The Legends Bowl is working toward a TV deal with NBC Sports Network. Organizers say both the Sun Belt and MAC will need additional bowl agreements even after the Montgomery game. Other leagues also could be interested in a Charleston bowl.
The biggest obstacle to a bowl game in Charleston is the NCAA moratorium on events at “pre-determined” sites in South Carolina, fueled by the NAACP-led economic boycott of the state due to the Confederate battle flag controversy.
State Rep. Samuel Rivers (R-Berkeley), a proponent of the Legends Bowl, plans to hold a second meeting of interested business and community leaders Tuesday.
The Montgomery game, owned by ESPN Regional Television, will be played in the 25,000-seat Cramton Bowl. The game has a six-year contract with the Sun Belt and MAC.
ESPN Regional now owns nine bowl games: the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Idaho); BBVA Compass Bowl Bowl (Birmingham); Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Armed Forces Bowl (Fort Worth, Texas); Las Vegas Bowl; New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Texas Bowl (Houston); and Hawaii Bowl (Honolulu).
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