Regional teams look to benefit from new bowl

Published 8:31 pm Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If Troy becomes bowl eligible in 2014 fans might not have to drive far to cheer on the Trojans.

With Monday’s reveal of the Camellia Bowl in Montgomery, the Sun Belt Conference added its third bowl tie-in. The game, to be played at the 25,000-seat Cramton Bowl, will pit the Sun Belt versus the Mid-American Conference (MAC).

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Troy athletic director John Hartwell says the venue would benefit Trojan fans if the team were invited.

“It’s good for the accessibility and affordability for our fans. The average fan with a family of four might not be able to drive to a vacation destination bowl game and spend the money on all the festivities that go along with that type of event,” Hartwell said. “For a school like Troy to participate in a bowl like the one in Montgomery would certainly afford every season ticket holder and most all our fans the opportunity to attend the game.”

Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said the target pricing for a ticket to the game will be $25 per ticket.

The city of Montgomery, as part of the agreement, will subsidize $225,000 per year to ESPN Regional Sports for the game. The payout to each participating school is expected to resemble that of the other two bowl in which the Sun Bowl has tie-ins. The combined R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl payout is $1 million while the combined payout for the GoDaddy Bowl is $1.5 million.

Over the last several year, Montgomery has spent approximately $10 million to renovate Cramton Bowl which was built in 1922.

The date of the game has yet to be determines but it is expected to be played in December before the Christmas holiday.

Hartwell said the conference having the third guaranteed bowl tie-in is a big win for the Sun Belt and all of its member schools.

“I think with the improvement of the league, it was something that was needed,” he said. “When you have teams like Troy did in 2007 when they were 8-4 and sitting at home, nobody is happy with that outcome. This gives out member schools another opportunity to play in the postseason.”

ESPN Regional Television also owns the BBVA Compass Bowl, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl, Bell Helicopters Bowl, MAACO Bowl Las Vegas, Gildan New Mexico Bowl, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas and Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl. estimated for tax returns that nonprofit organizations have expenses from $700,000 to $18 million to host a bowl game. Most, it is reported however, produce positive income.

While it is yet to be seen what the impact for Montgomery will be, many like Hartwell are excited about the possibilities.