Because there is no such thing as too many bowl games, ESPN announced today that it – in partnership with the Mid-American Conference and the Sun Belt Conference – will air the Camellia Bowl, starting in Dec. 2014. The Camellia Bowl will be played before Christmas each year, will be held in the Cramton Bowl stadium in Montgomery, Ala. – a newly renovated venue that holds 25,000 – and will be broadcast either on ESPN or ESPN2.
While the bigger conferences are sticking to themselves and not letting the smaller ones into their treehouse, a “Group of Five” conferences – Sun Belt, MAC, Mountain West, Conference USA and the newly formed American Athletic Conference – are trying to find locations for bowl games of their own. Montgomery was only one of the proposed sites, along with Los Angeles, Miami, Boca Raton and Orlando, Fla., and international bowl games that would be held in Dublin, Dubai or Toronto. This drive for more bowl games is good for the fans who have nothing else to do around Christmastime, great for ESPN and their sponsors, and decent for the host cities that may see a revenue spike with the traveling fans. It also gives the players of these smaller schools the ability to play on national TV, though with the advent of deep sports cable, most of their games are on national TV anyway.