Lone Star Sports and Entertainment and ESPN Events today announced Academy Sports + Outdoors as the new title sponsor of the Texas Bowl, a collegiate postseason showdown between teams from the Big 12 and the Southeastern conferences. Academy Sports + Outdoors will serve as the title sponsor through the 2019 bowl game. Entering its 12th year, the Texas Bowl is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, and managed locally by Lone Star Sports & Entertainment, an event management company founded in 2003 that is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans.
The 2017 Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 27, at 8 p.m. CT, at NRG Stadium in Houston and will be televised on ESPN. The Bowl is one of 14 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events and it is its most attended in recent years.
“We are excited to welcome Academy Sports + Outdoors as the new title sponsor for the Texas Bowl,” said Clint Overby, Vice President of ESPN Events. “Their ties and commitment to the community make them uniquely suited to be a significant part of the game. We are proud of the growth of the Bowl over the years and look forward to this new relationship.”
The Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl has ranked fourth in bowl game attendance since 2014, averaging over 70,000 attendees and trailing only the Rose, Cotton and Peach Bowls in that time. The bowl boasts over 20,000 local season ticket holders and has already sold over 50,000 tickets to date for this year’s game prior to team announcements on Sunday, Dec. 3.
“Academy Sports + Outdoors has been a Texas tradition for nearly 80 years, and becoming the title sponsor of the Texas Bowl was a natural fit,” said J.K. Symancyk, President & CEO of Academy Sports + Outdoors. “As Houston’s hometown sporting goods retailer, we’re proud to partner on a major event that brings football fans together and showcases our great city.”
The Bowl has generated an average of $50 million annually for the Houston economy. Through the Bowl’s relationship with DePelchin Children’s Center, its official charitable beneficiary, more than $1.2 million in financial support has been donated to the city’s oldest children’s charity.
“We are proud and excited to welcome Academy Sports + Outdoors as the title partner of the Texas Bowl,” said Jamey Rootes, President of the Houston Texans and Lone Star Sports and Entertainment. “Our friends at Academy share our passion to do great things for Houston and our entire community will benefit greatly from this association. The Texas Bowl has become the fourth best attended bowl game in America because of the large and loyal football fan base across the region that passionately follow the Big 12 and the SEC. Having our hometown sporting goods retailer as our teammate will help the Texas Bowl achieve an even higher level of success and deliver even greater impact year round for the Houston area.”
In 2014, an agreement with the SEC gave the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl the ability to showcase two of the country’s premier conferences against one another through 2019. After the selection process for the College Football Playoff National Championship, Sugar Bowl, Rose Bowl, Peach Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl and Citrus Bowl, the Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl is one of six games in a pool that the Conference, in consultation with the institutions and the bowls, makes assignments from all eligible SEC teams. The extension with the Big 12 that occurred during the agreement in 2014 with the SEC resulted in a higher selection order for the game. Once the CFP has filled its bowl slots, Big 12 bowl partners make selections from the remaining bowl eligible teams.
In 2016, the Kansas State Wildcats were victorious over the Texas A&M Aggies in a 33-28 win in front of a crowd of 68,412. The 2016 game was among the top-five most-attended bowls in the country for the third consecutive year and the fourth most attended edition of the bowl in its 11-year history.
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