Bahamas Bowl launched at TAR national stadium
The fifth edition of the popular Bahamas Bowl was launched yesterday with at a press conference at Thomas A. Robinson National Stadium. The game is set for Friday, December 21 at 12:30 p.m.
In attendance at the press conference were high-profile officials from the bowl organizing committee and representatives from the National Sports Authority (NSA), The Bahamas government, the Mid-American Conference (MAC) and Atlantis.
Pete Derzis, senior vice president of college sports programming and events at ESPN, said they are thrilled to have the bowl here in The Bahamas once again. The bowl game is owned and operated by ESPN Events – a division of ESPN.
“We’re thrilled with the business that we have established down here. We’re thrilled with the quality of production. Not only is the game shown back in the United States but it is also fed to anywhere from 50 to 75 countries internationally as part of our international play,” Derzis said.
The game is growing in popularity, and Derzis wants to thank some of the key stakeholders such as The Bahamas’ Ministry of Tourism; the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and Atlantis. Apart from the game, Derzis said the players and coaches also get a chance to do community work.
“We continue to be involved in a number of different initiatives with youth activities within The Bahamas, providing skill challenges, coaching clinics and things of that nature, contributing to the betterment of the youth in the community,” he said.
Each year, the game features teams from the MAC and Conference USA. MAC Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher said the teams in the MAC make this game a priority.
“This game is flat-out a priority for our member institutions. When we partnered with Lea (Lea Miller-Tooley, director of sales and marketing of the Bahamas Bowl) five-plus years ago to build this game, what was attractive was a chance to have something unique – something no one else had, and that’s what we have in this game. It is the crown jewel of our bowl line-up. No other conference has a game internationally like this,” Steinbrecher said.
Steinbrecher said that teams from the MAC are preparing for the college football season, as most of the schools’ media day is just about a month away. He said that the teams are already buzzing about the Bahamas Bowl game.
Representing the government was Minister of Transport and Local Government Frankie Campbell. He said that the bowl has been a resounding success the past four years.
Campbell also highlighted the financial benefits the game has on The Bahamas.
“The Bahamas Bowl has produced quantifiable results for the country’s economy. A total of more than 9,000 persons have traveled to The Bahamas expressly for the bowl over the past four years. Over the first four years, the game has injected almost $24 million into our economy,” Campbell said. He said one of the biggest benefits of the bowl game to The Bahamas is the exposure from ESPN. He said that network broadcasts the game to millions of television viewers.
The Bahamas Bowl is one of many college football bowl games, but it is the only one that is currently held outside of the United States and Canada.
Last year, the Ohio Bobcats defeated the University of Alabama at Birmingham, 41-6, in the game.
A total of 18 bowl alumni have been selected into the National Football League (NFL) Draft. The highest pick has been former Western Michigan wide receiver Corey Davis. He was picked fifth by the Tennessee Titans in the 2017 NFL Draft.
The official hotel of the bowl game is the Atlantis Resort.