Motor City Bowl Signs Agreement With Conference USA

Updated 6/13/2000
  • MAC Announces Three-year TV agreement with ESPN

    PONTIAC, Mich. (June 13, 2000) -- The Motor City Bowl, Presented by General Motors, Daimler Chrysler and Ford, has signed an agreement with Conference USA to provide a bowl-eligible team to face the champion of the Mid-American Conference in the annual NCAA post-season holiday bowl game. The two-year contract starts this year and continues through the 2001 NCAA football season.

    This year's game will be played on Wednesday, Dec. 27 at 4:00 p.m. in the Pontiac Silverdome. The game will be televised by ESPN.

    During its first three years, the Motor City Bowl had an "open" selection to play the MAC champion. Now, for the first time, the bowl has secured two conference contracts to assure a regional rivalry.

    "We are very pleased to partner with Conference USA," said George Perles, President & CEO of the bowl. "C-USA has made great strides in just four years of conference football. And it offers a strong regional proximity with several schools within driving distance of the Silverdome and metro Detroit. This is the next step in the overall development of the bowl," Perles added.

    C-USA, entering its fifth football season, has already provided one team to the bowl. In 1998, Louisville was the opponent for MAC champion Marshall (48-29 MU).

    "We have already experienced having Louisville in the bowl game in 1998, so we are well-aware of the enthusiasm and commitment that Conference USA brings to the event," said Ken Hoffman, the bowl's Executive Director. "With the increase to 25 bowls for 2000 and very likely 27 for 2001, the time has come to sign-on with a second conference partner. We now have the ability to market the Motor City Bowl with two conferences that encompass 22 football-playing institutions. That should allow us to continue to improve the strong economic impact the bowl has had in the region," Hoffman noted.

    The Motor City Bowl has been listed by the Metro Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau as the No. 2 event (in economic impact) in metro Detroit each of the last three years, with estimates of $21 million, $23.6 million and $24.6 million, respectively, directly attributable to the bowl.*

    "We are pleased to be associated with the Motor City Bowl," said C-USA Commissioner Mike Slive. "This fourth bowl provides additional post-season opportunities for our players. The addition of the Motor City Bowl and its proximity to several of our schools provides the opportunity for our players to showcase their talents to a great football state like Michigan as well as to the rest of the nation."

    "We are very supportive of Conference USA's tie-in to the Motor City Bowl," said Rick Chryst, Commissioner of the MAC. "Under the direction of George Perles and Ken Hoffman, the game has grown significantly in a short three years, and the Mid-American Conference feels a great part of that. Now, we will have an equally aggressive partner in C-USA to support efforts to market and develop the event year-round. Given today's bowl landscape, it makes sense -- and we're confident that our two conferences can create an exciting and entertaining match-up for college football fans in the region," Chryst added.

    The bowl has sold an average of 50,000-plus tickets in its first three years, with in-house attendance averaging 40,000. Last year's crowd of nearly 45,000 was the largest to date. ESPN ratings have been strong and significantly better than projected.

    "We welcome Conference USA to the Motor City Bowl," said Dave Brown, Director, Brand Management, ESPN Programming. "C-USA has enjoyed significant football success in just four short years. We look forward to another strong regional match-up in the Motor City Bowl."

    MAC champion Marshall has played in all three Motor City Bowls, winning the last two. In 1999, the Thundering Herd defeated BYU, 21-3, to finish a perfect 13-0 and ranked #10 in the nation.

    Other C-USA bowl tie-ins include the AXA Liberty Bowl (Memphis), the GMAC Mobile Alabama Bowl and the inaugural Bowl (Houston).


  • Each year, the MDCVB uses the formula provided by the International Association of convention & Visitors Bureaus to calculate the approximate economic impact of events in metro Detroit, adjusted to the local market.