Mid-American Conference vs. Conference USA, AAC begins in 2014
The Mid-American Conference announced today the creation of a new bowl game in Boca Raton, Fla. for a six-year period (2014-2019), which will be owned and operated by ESPN.
The Boca Raton Bowl will be a pre-Christmas bowl game and will be televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2. The Boca Raton Bowl will be played at FAU Stadium, an open-air stadium opened in 2011 which seats nearly 30,000 fans on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.
The creation of the Boca Raton Bowl is the beginning of a series of planned bowl announcements over the next several weeks and the centerpiece of a joint agreement between several FBS conferences.
“The Mid-American Conference is pleased to partner with ESPN and several other conferences in the creation of the Boca Raton Bowl,” said Jon Steinbrecher, Mid-American Conference commissioner. “This has all the ingredients for an excellent bowl game: a great location, wonderful facilities for student-athletes and fans and hungry teams. I am eagerly anticipating the inaugural game in December of 2014.”
“I am really excited about the Boca Raton Bowl,” added NIU football coach Rod Carey. “To have a league team playing in Florida, where we all spend so much time recruiting and where many of our players are from will help the Mid-American Conference. This is going to be an excellent opportunity for the MAC.”
The Boca Raton Bowl, in addition to bowl games that will be announced on future dates, will be supported by several FBS conferences on a six-year rotating basis.
With further announcements coming shortly, the MAC will have created two new primary appearances on an annual basis for the next six years. Starting in the 2014 college football season, the MAC will have a minimum five guaranteed bowl opportunities.
“We are pleased to be able to bring post season college football to the Boca Raton area and host institutions from the Mid-American Conference, American Athletic and Conference-USA,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president and GM for ESPN Regional Television. “The many amenities of this area will make this a wonderful experience for the participating teams, their fans and administrators.”
Beginning in the 2014 bowl season, the Boca Raton Bowl and bowl games to be announced at future dates, will become a rotation for two MAC bowl appearances as the fourth and fifth primary bowl partners for the Conference.
The MAC has long-term primary contracts with the Go Daddy Bowl (based in Mobile, Ala.) through the 2017 season and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (based in Boise, Idaho) and newly created Camellia Bowl (based in Montgomery, Ala.) through the 2019 season.
Earlier this summer, the MAC announced the creation of the Camellia Bowl, a newly created bowl game to begin in 2014, which will be based in Montgomery, Ala., 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.