Florida Citrus Sports CEO Steve Hogan and BIG EAST Conference commissioner John Marinatto have announced a partnership agreement for the Champs Sports Bowl. The agreement with the BIG EAST will bring Orlando the first pick after the Bowl Championship Series selection (i.e. the conference’s second overall pick) as well as the right to select Notre Dame once over the course of the four-year term and makes the BIG EAST the bowl’s first signed conference partner for the 2010-2013 cycle.
The Champs Sports Bowl continues to grow since moving from South Florida in 2001. The addition of the first selection from the BIG EAST — as well as Notre Dame – will potentially give Orlando bowls three of the six possible number one post-BCS selections (Big Ten and SEC’s top pick to the Capital One Bowl; BIG EAST’s to Champs Sports Bowl). In 2008-09, the remaining top slots were spread between the Chick-fil-A Bowl (ACC), Pacific Life Holiday Bowl (Pac-10) and AT&T Cotton Bowl (Big XII), with no more than one of the first picks outside of the BCS residing in any one place.
“The BIG EAST is very excited to be a partner with Florida Citrus Sports and the Champs Sports Bowl,” said conference commissioner John Marinatto. “I know our teams and fans will enjoy the tremendous experience of traveling to Orlando for a bowl game. The city of Orlando has become an elite bowl destination and the BIG EAST is thrilled to be a participant. The reputation of Florida Citrus Sports as a bowl host is second to none.”
The move to the BIG EAST is the first for the next cycle for Florida Citrus Sports managed bowl games. The origin of the conference’s opponent for 2010-2013 has yet to be determined.
“We are very excited about gaining another top pick through the BIG EAST and Notre Dame,” said FCSports CEO Steve Hogan. “If we are successful in signing our other planned selections, it will be tough to argue that Orlando doesn’t host the best week of the college football postseason.”
BIG EAST football has steadily grown in recent years, claiming at least two teams in the nation’s Top 25 every year since 2000. Last season, seven of the league’s eight schools were either ranked or receiving votes in the final national polls. The conference posted a 4-2 bowl record in 2008-09 — including a 12-4 mark in the last three years – and has shown competitive balance as four schools own or share the conference crown in the last three years. From a television perspective, BIG EAST teams in east coast bowl games have averaged a 4.2 TV rating since 2000.
“We are thrilled to continue to elevate the level of our game by adding the Big East’s top pick, after the BCS selection, to the Champs Sports Bowl,” said Rob Brodersen, Vice President of Marketing for Champs Sports. “In addition, having Notre Dame as a viable option for our game is a tremendous opportunity for all the fans.”
Television for the game will not change as it will be played in an exclusive TV window on ESPN, December 27, 28 or 29.
“A look back at the Champs Sports Bowl shows a tremendous jump in what the game has become, from its matchups to attendance to television ratings,” said Chuck Beverly, FCSports President. “To add the first selection after the BCS from the Big East to the mix is just one more step in the elevation of this game as one of the finest in college athletics and we look forward to showing a whole new group of fans why this is the best bowl trip in America.”