Champions Bowl set to name site
SEC commissioner Mike Slive told ESPN.com that the site for the new Champions Bowl -- either New Orleans or Arlington, Texas -- would be announced next week.
Slive confirmed to ESPN.com's Andy Katz on Thursday that the two finalists were New Orleans and Arlington. In August, ESPN.com reported that it was "a two-horse race" between the two cities.
The Champions Bowl was created by the SEC and Big 12 as a postseason home for each league's champion. If the SEC or Big 12 champion advances to the national semifinals, each conference would then provide another team for the Champions Bowl.
The Champions Bowl also will be part of the national playoff semifinal rotation during the 12-year term, starting after the 2014 regular season. The first game with the SEC-Big 12 pairing will be Jan. 1, 2015.
The name of the "Champions Bowl" will be either the Sugar Bowl (if in New Orleans) or Cotton Bowl (if in Arlington). The "Champions Bowl" name was just a placeholder until a site was chosen.ESPN is expected to pay $80 million a year for the Champions Bowl, sources said, the same amount the network will pay annually for the Rose Bowl.
Ten cities initially received a request for proposal (RFP) for the opportunity to bid on hosting the Champions Bowl game. However, five of those cities -- Phoenix; Tampa, Fla.; Nashville, Tenn.; Orlando, Fla.; and Jacksonville, Fla. -- opted not to bid because Arlington and New Orleans were such heavy favorites. The other cities that bid on the game were Atlanta, San Antonio and Houston.
ESPN.com's Andy Katz contributed to this report. Brett McMurphy covers college football for ESPN.