Sugar Bowl to Host SEC, Big 12 Champions
Beginning in 2015, the Big 12 and SEC champions will face each other in the Sugar Bowl every year under the terms of a new agreement announced Tuesday.
The two leagues had previously announced an agreement to create a “Champions Bowl” between their two respective conferences and began soliciting bids to host the event. The New Orleans-based Sugar Bowl won out over the Cotton Bowl in Arlington, Texas. Other cities that submitted bids included Atlanta, Houston and San Antonio. However, the Sugar Bowl was selected in the end in part because of its long tradition with the SEC, with which it has had a close relationship since its inception in 1935.
The game will still keep the Sugar Bowl moniker, as “Champions Bowl” had just been a placeholder name while Big 12 and SEC officials worked out all the details. Under the terms of the agreement, the SEC and Big 12 will each send their respective conference champions to the Sugar Bowl. If one of those champions is chosen for the playoffs that begin in 2014, then the league would send another team to the Sugar Bowl. ESPN will pay $80 million per year for the broadcast rights.
The Sugar Bowl will still be part of the new playoff rotation, along with the Rose and Orange Bowls. The Fiesta, Cotton and Chick-Fil-A Bowls are also expected to be part of the semifinal rotation, with each of the six expected to host four games during the first 12 years.
The Big Ten and Pac-12 champions have met for decades in the Rose Bowl, but this is the first time that two other power conferences have agreed to match up their champions in a specific bowl game.