« Broncos Sports First Blog

MAC Announces Creation of Boca Raton Bowl

by Carolyn Binder

Courtesy of WMU Athletics/Mat Kanan

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The Mid-American Conference announced today the creation of a newly created bowl game in Boca Raton, Fla. for a six-year period (2014-2019), which will be owned and operated by ESPN. 

The Boca Raton Bowl will be a pre-Christmas bowl game and will be televised nationally on ESPN or ESPN2. The Boca Raton Bowl will be played at FAU Stadium, an open-air stadium opened in 2011 which seats nearly 30,000 fans on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.

The creation of the Boca Raton Bowl is the beginning of a series of planned bowl announcements over the next several weeks and the centerpiece of a joint agreement between several FBS conferences. The MAC will play Conference USA in the Boca Raton Bowl in 2014 and the American Athletic Conference in 2015.

“The Mid-American Conference is pleased to partner with ESPN and several other conferences in the creation of the Boca Raton Bowl,” said Dr. Jon Steinbrecher, Mid-American Conference Commissioner. “This has all the ingredients for an excellent bowl game: a great location, wonderful facilities for student-athletes and fans and hungry teams. I am eagerly anticipating the inaugural game in December of 2014.”

The Boca Raton Bowl, in addition to bowl games that will be announced on future dates, will be supported by several FBS conferences on a six-year rotating basis.

With further announcements coming shortly, the MAC will have created two new primary appearances on an annual basis for the next six years. Starting in the 2014 college football season, the MAC will have a minimum five guaranteed bowl opportunities.

“We are pleased to be able to bring post season college football to the Boca Raton area and host institutions from the Mid-American Conference, American Athletic and Conference-USA,” said Pete Derzis, Senior Vice President & GM, ESPN Regional Television. “The many amenities of this area will make this a wonderful experience for the participating teams, their fans and administrators.”

MAC Primary Bowl Partners 2014-19:

2014 Bowl Season:

GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.; vs. Mountain West);

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Fla.; vs. Conference USA);

Bowl Game - TBA

2015 Bowl Season:

GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.; vs. Mountain West);

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Fla.; vs. American Athletic);

Bowl Game – TBA

2016 Bowl Season:

GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.; vs. Mountain West);

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Bowl Game – TBA

Bowl Game – TBA

2017 Bowl Season:

GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.; vs. Mountain West);

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Bowl Game – TBA;

Bowl Game – TBA;

2018 Bowl Season:

GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.; vs. Mountain West);

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Fla.; vs. Conference USA);

Bowl Game – TBA;


2019 Bowl Season:

GoDaddy Bowl (Mobile, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise, Ida.; vs. Mountain West);

Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.; vs. Sun Belt);

Boca Raton Bowl (Boca Raton, Fla.; vs. American Athletic);

Bowl Game – TBA.

Beginning in the 2014 bowl season, the Boca Raton Bowl and bowl games to be announced at future dates, will become a rotation for two MAC bowl appearances as the fourth and fifth primary bowl partners for the Conference. The MAC has long-term primary contracts with the Go Daddy Bowl (based in Mobile, Ala.) through the 2017 season and the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (based in Boise, Ida.) and newly created Camellia Bowl (based in Montgomery, Ala.) through the 2019 season.

Earlier this summer, the MAC announced 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.


Quotes from around the Mid-American Conference:


Western Michigan University, President, Dr. John M. Dunn, MAC Council of Presidents:

“We're delighted at this expansion of opportunity for our student athletes, alumni and fans. This influx of new bowl locations, new agreements with other FBS conferences and expanded broadcast opportunities keeps the MAC vibrant and continues the growth and profile enhancement we've seen under Commissioner Steinbrecher.”


Central Michigan University, Director of Athletics, Dave Heeke:

“Having a mid-December bowl in a premier location is a terrific opportunity for our student-athletes, their families and our fans. South Florida is a marquee designation especially for Mid-American Conference fans in December because of the great weather and how easy it is to get there. The timing of the bowl is advantageous because it gives fans a chance to take a short getaway before the busy Holiday season.”


University of Toledo, Director of Athletics, Michael O’Brien:

“We are very pleased that the Mid-American Conference will be partnering with the Boca Raton Bowl in what should be an exciting opportunity for our student-athletes and fans. Southern Florida is an ideal setting for a bowl experience and a great place for the MAC to extend its brand.”


Kent State University, Director of Athletics, Joel Nielsen:

“I’d like to recognize the outstanding work by Commissioner Steinbrecher and the MAC staff on securing these new bowl opportunities. Our coaches and student-athletes are excited about the location as South Florida is a great destination for our fan base.”


Ohio University, Head Football Coach, Frank Solich:

“Our commissioner, Jon Steinbrecher, and the Conference office have done a great job in putting together a bowl package of sites for the players and fans of the Mid-American Conference. This is a tremendous addition for the Mid-American Conference in terms of recruiting and excitement level as we continue to raise the league’s overall postseason platform. I hope our fans share in our excitement regarding this announcement.”


Northern Illinois University, Head Football Coach, Rod Carey

“I am really excited about the Boca Raton Bowl. To have a league team playing in Florida, where we all spend so much time recruiting and where many of our players are from will help the Mid-American Conference. This is going to be an excellent opportunity for the MAC.”


Ball State University, Head Football Coach, Pete Lembo:

“We appreciate the ongoing efforts of Dr. Steinbrecher and the Mid-American Conference office to solidify additional bowl agreements for our teams. This new Boca Raton bowl game will provide a great opportunity for a top MAC team to play in a destination that will be very attractive for the fan base. It is an exciting time to be a part of the Mid-American Conference.”


Bowling Green State University, Head Football Coach, Dave Clawson:

“We are appreciative of the efforts of the MAC to secure more bowl opportunities for our member schools. The level of play has improved a great deal in my time at Bowling Green and it is exciting to see that more teams will be rewarded with guaranteed opportunities to have a bowl experience.“


MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE

Founded in 1946, the Mid-American Conference is an NCAA Division I, 12-member conference that sponsors 23 championships and is one of ten members of the Football Bowl Subdivison (FBS). With total enrollment of nearly 300,000 students, the league represents institutions of higher learning in six (6) states - Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, and Ohio. In addition a 13th school–University of Massachusetts in Amherst, MA.—is an affiliate member for football.


Current MAC schools that hold full membership and the year they joined are -- East Division: University of Akron (1992), Bowling Green State University (1952), University at Buffalo (1998), Kent State University (1951), Miami University (1947), Ohio University (1946). West Division: Ball State University (1973), Central Michigan University (1971), Eastern Michigan University (1971), Northern Illinois University (1975-86, rejoined in 1997), University of Toledo (1950), Western Michigan University (1947). The University of Massachusetts (2012) competes in the East Division in football only.


The conference office is based in Cleveland, Ohio.

MEDIA CONTACT: Ken Mather, Assistant Commissioner/Media & Public Relations, 216-566-4622 x301