FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Allstate Sugar Bowl to Host SEC & Big 12 Champions
Conferences and Bowl Announce 12-Year Deal Beginning With 2014 Season
NEW ORLEANS - The Allstate Sugar Bowl secured its future through January 2026 with the announcement that it would host the newly-created bowl game featuring the champions of the Southeastern and Big 12 Conferences.
This new 12-game arrangement, set to begin following the 2014 regular college football season, will bear the name Sugar Bowl and feature conferences with more BCS National Championship appearances than any other league and places the Bowl at the pinnacle of postseason college football. The SEC leads all conferences with nine National Championship appearances while the Big 12 is second with seven.
"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."
Ten bowl cities were initially offered the chance to bid on the SEC-Big 12 bowl game and five of those submitted bids. In recent weeks it was reported that two finalists had emerged - the Sugar Bowl and the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, TX.
"The stakes were high and the competition was heated," said Hoolahan. "Both cities recognized the value of the game and launched all-out efforts to land this prestigious event."
It is expected that this game will create an annual economic impact surpassing current Bowl figures that have produced over $2 billion for New Orleans and Louisiana over the past decade.
"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 beyond measure," said Jack Laborde, the Sugar Bowl Committee's President. "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."
"The members of the Sugar Bowl Committee are extremely proud of this accomplishment," said Hoolahan, "but now the real work begins. A collaborative effort including all sectors of our city and state will be required to meet the long-term obligations that success in this endeavor will require."
The champions of the two conferences will be in the matchup unless one or both are selected to play in the new four-team model to determine the national championship. Should that occur, another deserving team from the conference(s) will be selected for the game. In the event that the bowl is selected as a semifinal game in the new BCS structure, the game would not host the SEC - Big 12 matchup in that year.
"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."
The Allstate Sugar Bowl has been the proud postseason home of the Southeastern Conference since the bowl's inception when Tulane University, then a member of the SEC, defeated Temple University in the inaugural Sugar Bowl Classic on Jan. 1, 1935. Overall, 71 SEC teams have visited New Orleans to play in the annual bowl game. In addition, based on current conference membership, 18 Big 12 teams have played in the Sugar Bowl, including a pair of Big 12 Champions.
It is fitting that the Sugar Bowl will host the champions of these two powerhouse conferences. Twenty-three national championship teams have completed their banner seasons in New Orleans, while 86 conference champions have played in the Sugar Bowl. Forty-six times, the SEC Champion has closed its season in the Sugar Bowl - and two other years have seen the SEC Champ play for the BCS National Championship in New Orleans.
The city of New Orleans is also a city of champions. In addition to the college football champions which have been hosted by the city, New Orleans has welcomed nine Super Bowls and five NCAA Men's Basketball Final Fours.