Atlanta’s Celebration Bowl puts HBCU football in national spotlight


After selling 48,000 tickets for last year’s game, this year’s contest sold out three weeks ago, with ESPN kicking off the game at noon on ABC to usher in the College Bowl season.

Bowl Executive Director Grant said: “This is our Super Bowl.”

The Celebration Bowl has never been this hot. One of the reasons he’s doing that is because all eyes are on sports legend Dion “Primetime” Sanders (his coach and retired head of Jackson State University).

William Pate, CEO of the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the Celebration Bowl and the events around it will pour tens of millions of dollars this week into Atlanta’s economy, which is normally dormant during the holiday season. Said it was expected.

All major downtown hotels are sold out, Pate said.

“Atlanta is one of the top destinations for black travelers in the country, so this is an opportunity to show off the city,” he added. “We have the perfect venue and Atlanta is the perfect city.”

On behalf of the two major HBCU conferences, Two colleges, the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), will each win $1.2 million in their respective leagues.

Skip Perkins, athletic director at North Carolina Central University, said: “Looking at it now, I can’t believe it.”

The only MEAC team to lose the Celebration Bowl, NCCU will be back for the first time since 2016.

For Jackson State, the game marks the end of Sanders’ school career, as he seeks funding, recruiting, and most importantly, attention to JSU and the historically Black college and college at large. We have led it through the revival of collecting.

Credit: AP File Photo/Matthew Hinton

Credit: AP File Photo/Matthew Hinton

Dubbed “Coach Prime” these days, he holds the position of head coach of the PAC-12 at the University of Colorado.

In the black college biosphere, his resignation has been denounced and celebrated in equal measure. Sanders, an NFL Hall of Famer and former major league star of the Atlanta Falcons, didn’t show up for the coach’s press conference last week, but is expected to coach at the game.

The idea for the Celebration Bowl came about when Grant was CEO of 100 Black Men of Atlanta.

For years, the organization has hosted the annual Atlanta Football Classic. This was usually an invitation that attracted big football programs such as Florida A&M, Southern University, and Tennessee State University. However, the game was in jeopardy due to declining crowds.

Sam Crenshaw, a veteran sports commentator in Atlanta, said the Celebration Bowl provides an opportunity for black colleges and universities to showcase themselves on a stage they’ve built for themselves.

“Show the nation that HBCUs can play well-coached and well-played games. says.

Several schools that participated in the Celebration Bowl, notably NCCU and four-time champion North Carolina A&T State University, reported significant increases in student enrollment after participating in the game.

The first two Celebration Bowl games were held at the Georgia Dome before moving to Mercedes-Benz in 2017.

Over 2.7 million last year Live television viewers and 48,653 fans flocked to Mercedes-Benz to watch South Carolina beat Jackson State. Of his 39 bowl games last season, the Celebration Bowl ranked his 11th in TV ratings.

The year before the first Celebration Bowl, the ESPN platform aired about 30 HBCU games. Over 150 this year.

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Credit: Christina Matacotta

Grant, a North Carolina native and 1979 NC A&T graduate, said: “The Rose Bowl is 103 years old.

History of the Celebration Bowl:

2015: North Carolina A&T defeated Alcorn 41-34

(TV viewers: 2,559,507, live attendees: 35,528)

2016: Grambling State Def. North Carolina Central 10-9

(2,711,320; 31,096)

2017: North Carolina A&T def. Grambling State 21-14

(2,602,851; 25,873)

2018: North Carolina A&T def. Alcorn 24-22

(2,347,000; 31,672)

2019: North Carolina A&T definition. Alcorn 64-44

(2,182,211; 32,968)

2020: Canceled due to COVID-19

2021: South Carolina State University opens. Jackson State 31-10

(2,703,307; 48,653)

Overview of North Carolina Central University:

Credit: Johnny Crawford / AJC

Credit: Johnny Crawford / AJC

Record: 9 wins, 2 losses

Location: Durham, North Carolina

Founded: 1910 by Dr. James E. Shepard

Number of registrants: 7,953

Nickname: Eagles

School Color: Maroon & Gray

Conference: Middle East Athletic Conference

First Year of Football: 1923

Overall career record: 494-405-30

About Jackson State University:

Record: 12-0

Location: Miss, Natchez.

Founded: 1877 by the American Baptist Home Mission Society

Subscribers: 7,000

Nickname: Tigers

Color: Navy & White

Conference: Southwestern Athletic

First Year of Football: 1911

All-time record: 494–336–22

This is the third meeting between NCCU and Jackson State. JSU leads the series 3-0. The Eagles and Tigers haven’t played against each other since his 1987 appearance.


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