Good news, everyone. You can stop calling the “Champions Bowl” the Champions Bowl and start calling it the Sugar Bowl.
According to ESPN.com, New Orleans has been selected as the site for the bowl game that will also reportedly serve as a rotating site for the semifinal round of college football’s new playoff beginning after the 2014 season. In other words, the Sugar Bowl is adding a Big 12 tie-in. New Orleans beat out the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Tx., and the Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta, among others. The “Champions Bowl” title was simply a placeholder.
The first Sugar Bowl with the Big 12 tie-in will take place Jan. 1, 2015. The deal is for 12 years.
All other details in the report have been known for a while. For instance, in the event that either the Big 12 champion or SEC champion is selected to the four-team playoff, the respective conference would select another team. In the event that the bowl is selected as a semifinal game, it would not host the SEC – Big 12 matchup. The expected payout from the bowl is, again, reported to be $80 million.
The other bowls expected to be among the six rotating semifinal sites are the Rose, Orange, Cotton, Fiesta and Chick-fil-A. There is a possibility of a seventh “access bowl”, but that has yet to be nailed down. So far, the Rose, Orange and Sugar have conference tie-ins; the other three access bowls are expected to be filled with at-large teams (the Fiesta Bowl’s tie-in with the Big 12 ends after 2014).
The Cotton Bowl in Arlington was the other finalist for the ‘Champions Bowl’. Now that New Orleans has secured the bid for the next dozen years, don’t be surprised if JerryWorld hosts the 2015 college football championship game, which will be held at a neutral site.
Updated 6:36 p.m. ET: And now it’s official. The SEC and Big 12 have announced that the Sugar Bowl will host the champions of the respective conferences. Here’s a portion of the release from the SEC:
“New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl are synonymous with post-season college football. For many years, fans have enjoyed the color and pageantry that New Orleans offers,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. The Mercedes-Benz Superdome has hosted many Super Bowls, Sugar Bowls and National Championship Games and having teams from the Big 12 and the SEC in a post-season college football game together only adds to this list. We look forward to competing against the Big 12 as a new championship tradition begins on New Year’s Day.”
“From the moment this game was announced, there has been tremendous excitement associated with the collaboration between these two conferences. That excitement is reflected in the bids received to host this game. There were great cities, attractive destinations, and impressive venues to consider,” commented Big 12 Conference commissioner Bob Bowlsby. Now Big 12 fans can look forward to a New Year’s tradition and coming to New Orleans to support their team. We are thrilled about our long-term association with our SEC colleagues and to be in partnership with the Allstate Sugar Bowl.“
“We’re pleased to have been selected to host this great game. This gives us the chance to extend the Sugar Bowl’s long-standing relationship with the Southeastern Conference and to develop a new relationship with the Big 12 Conference,” said Paul Hoolahan, Chief Executive Officer of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “The result will be, without a doubt, one of college football’s best bowl games on an annual basis, one that brings tremendous national prestige and millions of dollars in economic impact to our city and state over the New Year’s holiday. We look forward to the tremendous promise this game, and these two great conferences, have to offer.”
“This is a great day for the Sugar Bowl Committee, the city of New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. What this means for our city and state is hard to fully explain,” said Jack Laborde, President of the Allstate Sugar Bowl. “With the privilege of hosting this game comes a national spotlight, a position at the top of the college football world and untold tourism dollars. We couldn’t be happier and are grateful for the opportunity.”