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A Closer Look At 10 Potential “Champions” Bowl Hosts

We quickly wanted to take a closer, by-the-numbers look at the 10 cities asked by the SEC and Big XII to submit bids to host the soon-to-launch “Champions” Bowl.  We’ll do so in alphabetical order.

At the end of each city’s breakdown, we’ll also give you our “official” MrSEC.com take  on each site, revealing what we believe to be the positives and negatives associated with each location.

One thing we won’t get into is whether or not a city provides some type of homefield advantage to one league or the other.  If the two conferences have agreed upon these cities, then there’s no need to bicker over whether a site is too SEC- or Big XII-centric.  Many fans will argue over this type of thing, but if the commissioners aren’t worried about it, we won’t worry about it either.

Now, your 10 potential “Champions” Bowl host sites:

 

Atlanta

2010 Population: 420,000

Facility: Georgia Dome (71,228 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Dome

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 34, High 52

Current Bowl: Chick-fil-A Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Chick-fil-A

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Atlanta has become the hub of the SEC.  While the weather’s not great in January, the city has shown that it can host every type of major sporting event.  It wouldn’t be our choice for the game as the SEC is in danger of becoming all Atlanta’d out, but the city is definitely one of the co-favorites to land the first “Champions” Bowl.

 

Dallas (numbers for Arlington, which is most likely to host the game)

2010 Population: 365,000

Facility: Cowboys Stadium (80,000 seats… can fit 100,000+)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Retractable Roof

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 35, High 56

Current Bowl: Cotton Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: AT&T

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Arlington is the other co-favorite to land the game.  If part of a rotation, we’re fine with that.  But if Arlington is to be the year-in, year-out home to the game, well, that’s a different story.  The Metroplex is a fine area but the weather can get nasty in January and it’s not exactly a tourist hotspot.  Still, the final decision will be all about money and Arlington — thanks to Jerry Jones — has plenty of it.

 

Houston

2010 Population: 2,099,000

Facility: Reliant Stadium (71,054 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Retractable Roof

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 45, High 63

Current Bowl: Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Meineke

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: A little bit warmer weather than Arlington, Houston would be a better choice to host the game in our view.  The area even has beaches in the area for tourists, though January probably isn’t the best time for a dip in the Gulf.  Houston is also is centrally-located between the two leagues which would theoretically make travel easier for a larger number of fans.

 

Jacksonville

2010 Population: 821,000

Facility: EverBank Field (84,000 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 41, High 65

Current Bowl: Gator Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Taxslayer.com

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take:  Our first concern is the open air stadium.  No one wants to play in a rainy bowl game.  Our second concern is the fact that Jacksonville didn’t get high marks when it hosted its one and only Super Bowl seven years ago.  We’ll get angry emails, we know, but Jacksonville would probably be #10 on our list.

 

Nashville

2010 Population: 601,000

Facility: LP Field (68,798 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 29, High 47

Current Bowl: Music City Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Franklin American Mortgage

Hosted Super Bowl: No

MrSEC.com’s Take: Nashville is definitely a tourist destination with clubs, bars and live music at every turn downtown.  But the weather — an average low of 29! — and an open-air facility make this a hard sell.  Plus, the city hasn’t hosted a Super Bowl or BCS-level game before.  We don’t doubt that it could… but it hasn’t yet.

 

New Orleans

2010 Population: 343,000

Facility: Mercedes-Benz Superdome (72,003 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Dome

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 45, High 62

Current Bowl: Sugar Bowl and New Orleans Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Allstate (Sugar Bowl) and R+L Carriers (New Orleans Bowl)

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Like Houston, New Orleans is centrally-located between the SEC and Big XII schools.  Travel would be easier for a larger group of fans.  The city has hosted Super Bowls, Final Fours, BCS title games, etc.  And there’s no better tourist destination — for adults — on the list.  If you read this, then you know New Orleans would be our pick for a permanent home to the “Champions” Bowl.

 

Orlando

2010 Population: 238,000

Facility: Florida Citrus Bowl (70,000 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 50, High 71

Current Bowl: Capital One Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Capital One

Hosted Super Bowl: No

MrSEC.com’s Take:  There’s no better tourist destination — for families — than Orlando and its theme parks (SeaWorld, Disney, etc).  The stadium is also due to get a nice revamp.  But the current open air setting means that rain is a possibility.  Again, who wants to play a bowl game in the rain?

 

Phoenix (numbers for Glendale, which is most likely to host the game)

2010 Population: 226,000

Facility: University of Phoenix Stadium (63,400 seats… can fit 80,000+)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Retractable Roof

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 41, High 66

Current Bowl: Fiesta Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Tostitos

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Glendale isn’t located in an SEC or Big XII state but that might not be a bad thing.  Getting the game into Pac-12 country might actually help with SEC/Big XII West Coast recruiting.  Like some of the others on the list, this city would get a thumbs-up as a once-in-a-while host site.  Not as a permanent partner.

 

San Antonio

2010 Population: 1,327,000

Facility: Alamodome (65,000 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Dome

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 40, High 62

Current Bowl: Alamo Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Valero

Hosted Super Bowl: No

MrSEC.com’s Take: It’s Nashville with a little bit better weather and a roof.  Yes, it’s tourist friendly.  No, the city hasn’t proven it can host a Super Bowl.  San Antonio did, however, host the Final Four in 2008.  Gotta say, San Antonio would get a quicker “yes” from this site than Arlington would.  In fact, San Antonio would be quite high on our list overall.

 

Tampa

2010 Population: 335,000

Facility: Raymond James Stadium (65,857 seats)

Dome/Rectractable/Open: Open Air

Average Weather Jan. 1st: Low 52, High 70

Current Bowl: Outback Bowl

Current Bowl Title Sponsor: Outback

Hosted Super Bowl: Yes

MrSEC.com’s Take: Another major tourist destination.  The weather is typically warm, but the open air setting is a concern.  That said, the city has hosted big-time sporting events of every kind.  Tampa would be an obvious choice for the game.

 

Looking at this list, a few questions come to mind:

 

1.  Will the “Champions” Bowl find a permanent home or will it be in a state of constant movement?  One would assume that a constant rotation is likely.

2.  So will a city like — let’s say — Atlanta just turn the Chick-fil-A Bowl into the “Champions” Bowl in a given year?  If so, how would Chick-fil-A feel about losing its title partnership for a year?  After all, the SEC and Big XII intend to sell their own title partnership for their game.  Or would Atlanta host the Chick-fil-A Bowl and a separate “Champions” Bowl?  These are questions each city/bowl/sponsor on the list would have to wrestle with.

3.  Is the new postseason football structure going to be a jumbled mess?  Absolutely.  Access bowls.  A selection committee to seed the bowls.  A “Champions” Bowl that might change venues and name on an annual basis.  Some bowls that become playoff hosts more often than others.  All messy.

Until now, people struggled to figure out the BCS formula.  Starting in 2014, there will be a lot more strange things for fans to try and keep track of.

 


22 comments
JerryJonesIsTheDevil
JerryJonesIsTheDevil

This article is a joke from the beginning if you're basing the decision on reality.  

 

Yes, certain cities are better than others for tourist... others have more experience...  better weather... blah-blah-blah.

 

99.9% of the time, bowl decisions are based on money.  There are a lot of people/businesses that have it but only one willing to invest it in this bowl this year.  Jerry Jones.  

 

He'll buy the first one and after running it successfully (don't bother suggesting like he won't, he's got the experience and money) he'll immediately get a long-term contract to host it.   Jerry will have it locked in for at least a decade.  When his agreement is up, he'll use the "tradition" angle along with his cash in his play to keep it in Dallas - which he probably will do.  The only way to pry it away from him is to have a bidding organization anchored by a successful NFL owner and people wiling to literally invest double the money that Jerry is - and Jerry's gonna be willing to invest just about everything he can.

 

So of these "potential" locations take out any one that doesn't have a NFL team,  now take out the cities that haven't proven to have their pro team run successfully, now take out the ones outside of major metropolis that have populations of at least 1 million, now take out the ones who don't have owners willing to throw a ton of money at the bowl committee.  Now you have one city and owner, Bob NcNair and Houston.  Of course by then McNair will be well into his 80's so you better hope his kids are as passionate about football as their dad.   Yes, Jerry Jones may be out of it by then but his son Jerry Jr. is already VP of the Cowboys and is basically a clone of his dad.

 

I know, reality isn't as fun as fantasy...

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

 @JerryJonesIsTheDevil 

LOL...Jerry Jr. is a clone.

 

Probably a lot of truth in your assessment, but I'd like to see the game rotate within the Big 12/SEC footprint.  Not crazy about PHX having a shot.  I'd rather visit NOLA, FL cities or Nashville.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @JerryJonesIsTheDevil 

 

So the SEC and Big XII ask 10 cities to bid on the game, and we have a little fun looking at which cities might be better fits for the game and for the two leagues' fans.

 

But that somehow made you angry.  Angry enough to anonymously -- of course -- post that "this article is a joke" and that it's "fantasy."

 

You must have a pretty sad life.

 

At any rate, the last time I got emails so angry and so sure of what was REALLY going to happen was when Texas fans were telling me the Big XII had already cut a deal with Clemson and Florida State to join their league in June.

 

John

DanHogan
DanHogan

I really hope this thing gets a permanent home somewhere and takes over one of the existing bowls, even if it's in name and stadium only.  Fans in the B1G and PAC talk about "getting to Pasadena" and "playing in the Rose" year after year.

Mr Bad Example
Mr Bad Example

I think it goes to Arlington for one reason, and one reason only - money. Jerry wants it, Jerry can afford it, and Jerry's gonna get it. If it comes down to bidding, most everyone else is not going to step up and match Jerry's wallet (although had the Haslam family been successful in buying the Titans from Bud Adams and not ended up buying the Browns, it could have gotten interesting) Fans of the SEC (newcomer Texas A&M and LSU excluded) will say it's too far a drive, but you've got to consider the Big 12 schools as well. I look at it this way - it's like we're getting ready to feed an animal we know nothing about. Let's give 3 or 4 cities a shot, and then re-evaluate. I wouldn't carve Arlington or NoLa in stone just yet.  

Lansky
Lansky

Is the list closed at 10? How about a latecomer: Havana!

ZeelandCap
ZeelandCap

First, I love your site and your analysis is superb.  That said: I wonder if you're over-rating whether the site is open-air or not (possibility of rain).

Games in the rain are fun!  Football is meant to played outdoors and part of a team strategy should be being able to play in various conditions.

 

That said, my selection would be Houston.  I can't tell you how sick of New Orleans I am.

KEGreene1
KEGreene1

While Jacksonville is an open air stadium, their host committee and events week has consistently been at the top of the list from surveys completed by Colleges post Bowl week.  Jacksonvill also host a little game called the World's Largest Outdoor Cocktail Party, with people tailgating all week long along the banks of the St. Johns River.  Orlando's stadium is not up to a decent college stadium standard, much less the NFL standard that many of the others have.  I'm trying to figure out how the Citrus Bowl plans on getting even close to there with less than 200 million.  I think it is Jerry's world and then the rest. 

 

In my opinion, Stadium size should be the first criteria before location. The 24 schools in the Big 12 (minus 2) and the SEC represent some of the largest fanbases in the country (not to mention the largest on campus stadiums).  Second would be ability to handle the college game and tailgating.  I went to the Auburn/Oregon National Championship game in Glendale.  While the Stadium was top notch, they didn't open the parking lots until 12 noon before a 6 pm game.  The Wal-Mart down the street started filling up by 9 am with Auburn campers and fans waiting to get in there.  They didn't have enough port-a-lets for the all the fans tailgating and when they let the doors open they didn't expect a mad rush for the doors an hour before kick-off (us big time college folks like to see them warm up, hear the bands, etc.)

 

1. Jerry's World.

2. New Orleans

3. Jacksonville

4. Houston

5. Glendale (if they could work on the outside the stadium experience)

6. Tampa Bay (stadium size is the only thing hurting them)

I4Bama
I4Bama

Also along these lines, if you find yourself in College Station in the next few years, Bush the elder's presidential library is pretty cool.

I4Bama
I4Bama

San Antonio is nothing like DFW, by the way

I4Bama
I4Bama like.author.displayName 1 Like

If more people in SEC territory had visited San Antonio, it would be among the favorites.  Try it.  That is, at least among those who don't require the alcohol and eye candy in New Orleans (though there are other attractions and the food is good - not a shot at this site).

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @I4Bama I love SA. Good, solid, beautiful, and distinct city. While it would not be my first choice, it would be worth discussing. One of the benefits would actually be to give another city a shot at developing a bowl site. More options are usually better than fewer options. That said, not going to happen.

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

 @BonzaiB  @I4Bama 

I love San Antonio, too, but the Alamo Dome's seating capacity is only 72,000.  I don't think it's flush with modern amenities like suites, either, another revenue stream for the host.  Probably not gonna happen for SA.

cattledawgs
cattledawgs

 @I4Bama

 Ive been to San Antonio once and it did seem to be a pretty cool city, but I didnt have time to really check it out. Having just got back from a bachelor party in nola 2 weekends ago, I still cant wash away all the grime from that city.

cattledawgs
cattledawgs

Atlanta, Dallas, and Nola would be my 3 main cities and pick a new 4th city to rotate in every 4 years.

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

Numbers for Arlington are irrelevant.  3M+ in DFW Metroplex with alums from everywhere.  You'll see how outrageous the Death Star is when Bama plays Michigan.  I'm sure you'll be impressed.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @JB TexasEx 

 

If I'd used metro numbers, I'd have had people say I shouldn't count Dallas and Ft. Worth as part of Arlington.  I knew -- city or metro -- I'd get someone upset over it.  It's just data.  Nothing more, nothing less.

 

As for the Metroplex, I've been to the Dallas area and had a good time.  But it's not the tourist destination that some of the other cities on the list are.  If a fan is going to spend a week in winter somewhere, I'm guessing they'd rather go to New Orleans or Tampa than they would Arlington.  No knock on Arlington, but some towns are tourist havens and some aren't.

 

Well aware of Cowboys Stadium.  Spectacular.  Personally, I think the first "Champions" Bowl will land right there.  But I'd still put it in New Orleans on an annual basis.  Just my take.

 

Thanks for reading,

John

JB TexasEx
JB TexasEx

 @John at MrSEC 

No argument.  Arlington itself is lame with only chain restaurants.  Go to Pappasito's for the margaritas and fajitas.

But, you've got Fort Worth's stockyards and museums 15 miles west.  In Dallas, 15 miles east, you've got great restaurants, nightlife, museums and the JFK memorial.  DFW will be a great host IF the weather is good - unlike Super Bowl XLV.

BonzaiB
BonzaiB

 @John at MrSEC Arlington is bland. No restaurants worth a flip within 30 miles, the area around Jerry Wolrl has an industrial feel to it, long drive from the air port, etc, etc, etc. The stadium itself is boring. Very effiecient, very good facilities, good concessions, but no personality at all. Seats are comfortable, but honestly, after two visits to it, I'd almost rather watch the game at home. While I am not a big fan of LA, gotta agree with you. If  I go to a bowl game, I want more than just the stadium, I want a fun atmosphere. The Cajuns know how to do that. Give me New Orleans over Dallas every time for a bowl game.... heck, for a high school game.

birddog01
birddog01

Since most of the Big 12 is part of the midwest, then a city like St. Louis or KC maybe worth looking at too, if the location is going to change each year.

John at MrSEC
John at MrSEC moderator

 @birddog01 

 

Those cities don't have existing bowl games and that had to be the issue.  

 

John

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