NEW YORK — New Orleans will be the site of the new marquee bowl game between the Southeastern Conference and Big 12.
The conferences made the announcement Tuesday. The game will still be called the Sugar Bowl and will be played in the Superdome. The agreement between the leagues and the bowl is for 12 years.
The SEC has a long history with the Sugar Bowl. Seventy-one times an SEC team has played in the game, far more than any other league. The very first Sugar Bowl in 1935 matched Tulane, then of the SEC, against Temple.
“New Orleans and the Sugar Bowl are synonymous with post-season college football. For many years, fans have enjoyed the color and pageantry that New Orleans offers,’’ SEC Commissioner Mike Slive said in a statement. “We look forward to competing against the Big 12 as a new championship tradition begins on New Year’s Day.’’
The story was first reported by ESPN.com
Several sites were vying to host the game, including Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas. Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio also submitted bids to host the game, but it came down to Arlington and New Orleans.
“From the moment this game was announced, there has been tremendous excitement associated with the collaboration between these two conferences. That excitement is reflected in the bids received to host this game. There were great cities, attractive destinations, and impressive venues to consider,’’ Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby said. “Now Big 12 fans can look forward to a New Year’s tradition and coming to New Orleans to support their team. We are thrilled about our long-term association with our SEC colleagues and to be in partnership with the Allstate Sugar Bowl.’’
The new college football playoff begins after the 2014 season and the first Sugar Bowl in the new format will be played Jan. 1, 2015. It will match the champions from the SEC and Big 12, unless those teams are selected to the national semifinals. In that case, two other highly rated teams from those conferences will be paired up.
“We’re pleased to have been selected to host this great game,’’ Sugar Bowl Chief Executive Officer Paul Hoolahan said. “This gives us the chance to extend the Sugar Bowl’s long-standing relationship with the Southeastern Conference and to develop a new relationship with the Big 12 Conference.’’
The game will be part of the semifinal rotation for the new playoff system, along with the Rose Bowl and the Orange Bowl. At least three more sites need to be picked, with the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz., and Arlington and Atlanta the leading candidates. How often each site will host a semifinal has yet to be determined.