CLEVELAND - 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, Ida.) through the 2019 season.
"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.