ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, announced Monday the creation of the Camellia Bowl, a postseason college football game matching-up the Sun Belt Conference against the Mid-American Conference (MAC) beginning in December 2014.
The game will be played yearly at the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., before the Christmas holiday and be televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2.
"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.
The Cramton Bowl is a 25,000 seat stadium that has undergone significant renovations over the last few years, including a new press box facility, locker rooms and VIP hospitality accommodations.
"The Sun Belt Conference marks a significant moment in its history by partnering with the Mid-American Conference, ESPN, and the city of Montgomery for what will be a tremendously successful bowl game," said Karl Benson, Sun Belt Conference Commissioner. "Montgomery has all the ingredients for a great bowl game and experience for our student-athletes and fans - a great venue in the renovated Cramton Bowl, a vibrant downtown with many new hotels and restaurants, and a location in the middle of the SBC footprint that will make travel very convenient for fans throughout our league. With every football season the SBC continues to show its strength and deserving place amongst college football's best and soon a talented SBC team will represent our league well in this exciting new bowl game."
"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 City of Montgomery is honored to be selected as the host City for this new bowl game," said Mayor Strange. "We applaud ESPN for their commitment and are proud to be partnered with them for this exciting project. We look forward to working with Johnny Williams and congratulate everyone involved for developing a vision that will help uphold the City of Montgomery's reputation as the Capital of Dreams."