SBC enters agreements with three bowls
League improves postseason chancesJuly 22, 2008 · SBC Media Relations
NEW ORLEANS - The Sun Belt Conference announced Tuesday that it has signed agreements with the St. Petersburg Bowl, the Papajohns.com Bowl and the PetroSun Independence Bowl. The announcement came at the Sun Belt's annual Football Media Days.
The agreements, which are effective immediately and will impact the 2008 and 2009 bowl games, call for bowl-eligible teams from the Sun Belt Conference to be the first available teams in these bowls should the contracted parties not be able to fulfill their requirements.
"This is an excellent opportunity for our football league for many reasons," said Sun Belt Commissioner Wright Waters. "It will give our teams a chance to play in regional bowl games, show that we can compete with quality opponents and prove that this league can attract crowds to games and influence TV ratings."
While the Sun Belt Conference champion will still play in the R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl, the St. Petersburg Bowl or the Papajohns.com Bowl will have second choice to select one of the Sun Belt's bowl-eligible teams if the contracted parties are not able to fulfill their requirements. The St. Petersburg Bowl will play its inaugural game Dec. 20 at Tropicana Field and is scheduled to pit teams from the Big East and Conference USA. The 2008 Papajohns.com Bowl is scheduled to feature teams from the Big East and Southeastern Conference and will be played Dec. 29 at Legion Field in Birmingham, Ala. Both games are owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, Inc., a subsidiary of ESPN.
"This agreement protects the future success of our events, to which ESPN Regional Television is very committed," said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President & General Manager, ERT. "We are taking this step to be able to present college football fans with two quality teams for our postseason bowl games."
The agreement signed with the PetroSun Independence Bowl calls for that bowl game to receive the third choice to select one of the Sun Belt's bowl eligible teams if the contracted parties are not able to fulfill their requirements. The Independence Bowl would also receive the second choice to select a Sun Belt bowl eligible team should the St. Petersburg Bowl or the Papajohns.com Bowl not have an opening. The game is scheduled to have a team from the Southeastern Conference and Big XII and will be played Dec. 28 at Independence Stadium in Shreveport, La.
"We feel good about partnering with the Sun Belt Conference as a contingency partner for the 2008 and 2009 games," said PetroSun Independence Bowl Chairman Keith Bergeron. "Our primary agreements with both the Big 12 and SEC run through the 2009 game and year-in and year-out provide us with a great matchup. Now with 34 bowl games and nearly all conferences going anywhere from four to nine deep with bowl partners we felt it was necessary and good business to lock in a contingency plan in the unlikely event that we don't host a team from either the Big 12 or SEC. The Sun Belt and its member institutions offer a natural regional tie with Shreveport being within driving distance for fans of any Sun Belt school."
The agreements with the St. Petersburg Bowl, the Papajohns.com Bowl, and the PetroSun Independence Bowl are for two years, beginning with the 2008 bowl games. Should there be any ties in the Sun Belt standings, those three bowl games have the right to select the team of their choice.
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