Newly Formed New Mexico Bowl To Debut in 2006
Inaugural game features MWC vs. WAC Dec. 23 on ESPN
May 1, 2006
ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, Inc., will own and operate the New Mexico Bowl, a newly created college football bowl game to be played at the University of New Mexico's University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico. The announcement was made by Pete Derzis, senior vice president and general manager, ESPN Regional Television, New Mexico Governor Bill Richardson and Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez at a press conference today in Albuquerque. The game was certified Thursday by the NCAA Football Bowl Certification Committee.
The game will match a team from the Mountain West Conference against a team from the Western Athletic Conference on Saturday, December 23 and be televised by ESPN. The start time has yet to be finalized. ESPN Regional Television markets and owns three other bowl games -- the Sheraton Hawai`i Bowl, Pioneer PureVision Las Vegas Bowl and the Fort Worth Bowl. In addition, another ERT owned-and-operated event, the Birmingham Bowl, was also certified Thursday.
"We are very pleased to bring a bowl game to the great college sports fans of New Mexico and provide national exposure to the participating conferences, the state of New Mexico and the University of New Mexico," Derzis said. "Albuquerque is a fast growing travel destination and a strong college football market -- a terrific foundation for this exciting new venture."
ESPN Regional Television will be responsible for the New Mexico Bowl's organization, operation, sponsorship, marketing efforts and more. Under the direction of ESPN Regional Television, the University of New Mexico will provide marketing, management and game day operations support for the New Mexico Bowl. ESPN Regional Television will assign an executive director to be based in Albuquerque. Additional details, including sponsorship, are to be finalized.
"This Bowl Game in Albuquerque is a perfect fit for New Mexico," Richardson said. "This is a state that loves college sports and I feel the community will get behind the game and make it a success. Because of the efforts of ESPN, the Sports Authority, the City of Albuquerque and the University of New Mexico, we were able to get this done faster than anyone ever expected. The Bowl will give us another opportunity to showcase New Mexico."
"Albuquerque is celebrating our 300th birthday and what a wonderful way to extend our celebration by bringing a nationally televised bowl game to our city. On behalf of City of Albuquerque, I am ecstatic to be able to share this culturally rich and diverse destination with the NCAA student-athletes, their fans and families in what we believe will be one of the best bowl experiences in the nation," Chavez said.
''I want to thank everyone involved for helping to bring an organized and sanctioned college football bowl event to the state of New Mexico," said Dennis Latta, executive director, New Mexico Sports Authority.
"This is great news for the Mountain West and the WAC," said Rudy Davalos, athletic director, University of New Mexico. "It also enables the State of New Mexico and Albuquerque to get valuable exposure throughout the country. The University of New Mexico is excited about the possibility of playing in the New Mexico Bowl."
The New Mexico Bowl will join ESPN and ESPN2's extensive bowl lineup. Last year, the networks combined to televise 20 college football bowl games.
ESPN REGIONAL TELEVISION/EVENT OWNERSHIP ESPN Regional Television (ERT) is the nation's largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming and produces more than 740 sporting events annually, accounting for more than 2,000 live and/or original hours of programming. In addition to event ownership, ERT produces events for national, regional and local networks, serves as the syndication rightsholder for college conferences (e.g. - Big Ten, BIG EAST and the Big 12) and marketing rightsholder for select schools (Kansas, Oregon and South Florida).
ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several other sporting events, in addition to bowl games. Examples include the Spartan Clash, Ford MEAC/SWAC Challenge, the National Golf Challenge presented by Callaway and the O'Reilly Auto Parts All-College Classic.