The Celebration Bowl will once again be televised live on ABC and open the bowl season. The postseason college football bowl game will kick off at noon ET on Saturday, Dec. 16, at the brand new Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The Celebration Bowl, which showcases the heritage, legacy, pageantry and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), pits the conference champion from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) against the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). Each conference has claimed a victory in the event’s first two years, with MEAC Champion North Carolina A&T defeating Alcorn State 2015 and SWAC Champion Grambling State beating North Carolina Central in 2016. Two bowl alumni were just selected in the 2017 NFL Draft: 2015 Offensive MVP Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T) and 2016 champion Chad Williams (Grambling State).
“We are thrilled to once again kickoff the college football bowl season with the Celebration Bowl on ABC,” said John Grant, Celebration Bowl Executive Director. “This year’s game will be the first bowl game to be played in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium. In our third year of featuring the champions from the MEAC and SWAC conferences, football fans have been exposed to two very competitive games that each went down to the wire. With the conference win records tied at one each this year’s game will showcase to millions of fans and viewers another exciting championship game. Atlanta will play host to both the Celebration Bowl to open the season as well as the College Football Playoff Championship as the season finale.”
“We are pleased to know that the 2017 Celebration Bowl will be on ABC again,” said MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas. “The exposure on an international and national level is not only good for our conferences but is also good for the participating institutions. To start the 2017 bowl season is an excellent opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches and institutions as they’re on a national platform that will enhance their brand and marketability. ESPN should be commended for providing this avenue of exposure for the MEAC and SWAC Champions.”
“The Southwestern Athletic Conference is excited to continue its relationship with the Celebration Bowl, ABC and the city of Atlanta,” SWAC Commissioner Duer Sharp said. “The best football fans in country will once again have the outstanding opportunity to watch the MEAC and SWAC champions kick off bowl season, playing in front of a nationally televised audience. The excitement of the game, the halftime battle of the bands and the opportunity to play in the new home of the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United FC, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, makes for a fantastic bowl experience for our student-athletes and football fans everywhere.”
Tickets for the game, a full ancillary event schedule and discounted rates at downtown Atlanta hotels will be available this summer. To stay up to date on Celebration Bowl announcements, sign up for updates on www.TheCelebrationBowl.com, and follow the event on Facebook and Twitter.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, also manages the season-opening MEAC/SWAC Challenge on Labor Day Weekend, another game that showcases these two conferences and highlights the traditions of HBCUs. The 2017 Challenge features Southern University from the SWAC and South Carolina State University from the MEAC, and will be played Sunday, Sept. 3 at Southern’s Ace. W Mumford Stadium, live on an ESPN network.
The Celebration Bowl is one of 13 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.