ATLANTA – The Celebration Bowl will be televised live on ABC to open the 2018 bowl season for the fourth consecutive year. The postseason college football bowl game will kick off at noon ET, on Saturday, Dec. 15, from Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
The Celebration Bowl, which showcases the heritage, legacy, pageantry and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), features the conference champions from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC). The MEAC leads the series 2-1 with both wins coming from North Carolina A&T, whose last minute 21-14 win over Grambling State in 2017 capped the first unbeaten season in MEAC history. Grambling won the SWAC’s first title in 2016 with a thrilling 10-9 victory over North Carolina Central.
The average margin of victory in the event’s history has been just five points, making the Celebration Bowl one of the most exciting games of the bowl season. The event has also performed well with television viewers as one of the most watched pre-Christmas bowl games in each of its three years of existence.
Three bowl alumni have gone on to be selected in the NFL Draft, including three-time MEAC Offensive Lineman of the Year Brandon Parker (North Carolina A&T – Oakland Raiders) just last week. 2015 Offensive MVP Tarik Cohen (North Carolina A&T – Chicago Bears) and 2016 champion Chad Williams (Grambling State – Arizona Cardinals) were both chosen in the 2016 NFL Draft.
“We are proud that once again the Celebration Bowl will kick off the college football bowl season on ABC in Atlanta, Georgia,” said John Grant, Celebration Bowl Executive Director. “We are pleased to feature the champions of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) verses the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) in this nationally televised championship game. Each of the past three years we have presented exciting games that went down to the wire in determining who would claim the coveted Celebration Bowl trophy.”
“I would like to thank ESPN for their vision and dedication to establishing the Celebration Bowl as one of the top collegiate bowl games,” said SWAC Interim Commissioner Edgar Gantt. “We are excited and look forward to participating in this year’s bowl. Our student-athletes, coaches and fans have enjoyed this first class event.”
“We are elated to know that the 2018 Celebration Bowl will be on ABC again,” said MEAC Commissioner Dr. Dennis E. Thomas. “The exposure for our conference and institutions on a national level is tremendous for our branding. To start the 2018 bowl season is an excellent opportunity for our student-athletes, coaches and institutions as they play on a national platform. ESPN continues to be a great partner and should be commended for providing this avenue of exposure for the MEAC and SWAC football champions.”
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, Twitter and Instagram.
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. The 2018 Challenge will be contested in Atlanta for the first time, featuring Prairie View A&M University from the SWAC and North Carolina Central University from the MEAC. The game is set for Sunday, Sept. 2, at Georgia State Stadium, and will be televised on ESPN2 at noon.
The Celebration Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of 31 collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 14 college bowl games, 12 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 300-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.
ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Bad Boy Mowers Gasparilla Bowl (St. Petersburg, Fla.); Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Cheribundi Tart Cherry Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Frisco Bowl (Texas); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff (Montgomery, Ala.); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Atlanta); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); The Home Depot College Football Awards Presented by Gildan (Atlanta) and Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Fort Bliss, Texas); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (TBD); Myrtle Beach Invitational (Conway, S.C.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off; State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis) and Wooden Legacy (Fullerton, Calif.)