DETROIT – The Detroit Lions announced today that they have entered into a six-year partnership with the Big Ten Conference for a bowl game that will be played at Ford Field beginning in 2014.
The game will be officially named once sponsorship agreements are in place. The inaugural game is tentatively scheduled for December 30, 2014 (pending TV broadcast schedule).
“We are thrilled to be hosting a new bowl game in Detroit that will be anchored by an annual commitment from the Big Ten,” said Detroit Lions Team President Tom Lewand. “In addition to showcasing our city and its rich football tradition, this game will be an opportunity for fans to enjoy a postseason matchup featuring one of college football’s best conferences.”
At the end of each college football season, the Big Ten and a conference to be named will determine their team representatives after discussion between bowl and conference officials to create the best possible matchup.
“We are pleased to join with the Detroit Lions in creating this new postseason bowl game in Detroit,” Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. “The city of Detroit has played host to as many big-time sporting events as any other major city in America, from NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and Regional games to the Super Bowl, World Series and NBA Finals. The support of the business and community leaders of Detroit coupled with a world-class facility in Ford Field and Detroit Lions’ management of the game will result in a meaningful experience for Big Ten teams and their fans.”
The Big Ten has sent a representative to Detroit for a bowl game three times (Northwestern, 2003; Purdue, 2007 and 2011) for the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl, also played at Ford Field.
The Detroit Lions become only the second NFL team (Houston Texans, 2006) to officially host and operate a college football bowl game. The team’s entertainment division, DLI Entertainment, has promoted multiple large scale shows and events at Ford Field, including seven consecutive sold out Kenny Chesney concerts, Taylor Swift, The Basketbowl (2003), 2008 NCAA Men’s Basketball Regionals, 2009 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four and the 2010 NCAA Men’s Ice Hockey Frozen Four
About the Detroit Lions
The Detroit Lions are a professional American football team based in Detroit, Michigan. They are members of the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL), and play their home games at Ford Field in Downtown Detroit. The team located to Detroit in 1934 and are the National Football League's fifth oldest franchise. The Detroit Lions most recently made the NFL playoffs in 2011, when they finished with a 10-6 record. In addition to professional football, the Detroit Lions have a very visible and active community relations role in the Detroit area. With a focus on health and wellness and community revitalization, the Lions have contributed $6.2 million through philanthropic efforts since 1991. For more information visit www.Detroitlions.com.
About the Big Ten Conference
The Big Ten Conference is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching and public service. Founded in 1896, the Big Ten has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in student-athletes’ lives and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness and competitiveness. The broad-based athletic programs of the 12 Big Ten institutions provide in excess of $141 million in direct financial aid to more than 8,200 student-athletes playing on more than 300 teams in 42 different sports. The Big Ten sponsors 26 official conference sports, 13 for men and 13 for women, and will add men’s and women’s lacrosse as the 27th and 28th official sports for the 2014-15 academic year. For more information, visit www.bigten.org.