GREENSBORO, NC –The Atlantic Coast Conference and the Orange Bowl Committee announced today that the Discover Orange Bowl will annually feature the ACC Champion against an opponent from the Big Ten Conference, Southeastern Conference or University of Notre Dame as part of the 12-year agreement that begins following the 2014 season. In addition, ESPN will serve as the broadcast partner, and the historic bowl game will either be played in an exclusive prime-time window New Year’s Eve or on New Year’s Day, pending the schedule of the new collegiate postseason playoff games.
The selection of the opponent will be based on the guiding principle of securing the highest-ranked team in the final standings available from the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame, but will also utilize criteria that shares the minimum appearance standards as agreed upon by all parties. The standards include at least three guaranteed appearances over the 12 years for both the Big Ten and the SEC and a maximum of two with no minimum for Notre Dame.
“We are pleased to have finalized our long-term partnership which brings tremendous exposure and value to the ACC and our member institutions,” said ACC Commissioner John Swofford. “The Discover Orange Bowl has a rich history of prestige and featuring our teams against opponents from the Big Ten, SEC and potentially Notre Dame provides attractive matchups year in and year out. The opportunity to partner with ESPN to showcase the game on either New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day provides us with a terrific way for fans to ring in the New Year in South Florida.”
”The Orange Bowl Committee is truly excited about the completion of our bowl matchup with the ACC Champion by solidifying that their opponent will be from either the Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame, at a special time of year in beautiful South Florida. Undoubtedly this arrangement will provide tremendous national visibility and generate significant economic impact to the South Florida Community,” said O. Ford Gibson, Orange Bowl Committee president and chair. “The Orange Bowl values our special partnership with the Atlantic Coast Conference, as we are looking forward to strengthening our already deep relationships with the Big Ten, SEC and Notre Dame.”
“Our continued media partnership with ESPN is of great importance to the Discover Orange Bowl property,” said Eric Poms, Orange Bowl Committee chief executive officer. “The worldwide leader in sports brings the optimal platform to annually showcase one of college football’s great traditions.”
“A game pitting the ACC champion against the SEC, Big Ten or Notre Dame ensures a great match up for sports fans,” said John Skipper, ESPN President. “The Orange Bowl has a great history and we are very proud to be part of extending that into the next decade.”
“We are very excited to reach agreement with the ACC to provide a highly regarded football opponent at the Orange Bowl following select seasons from 2014-2026,” said Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany. “The ACC plays great college football and our fans have a deep respect for the historic Orange Bowl tradition. If previous Orange Bowl appearances are any indicator, I am confident that our fans will travel in great numbers to South Florida; and that those who can’t be there in person, will tune in to ESPN to watch these exciting postseason contests.”
“The tradition of the SEC playing in the Orange Bowl began over 75 years ago and since that time we have played in 39 Orange Bowls,” said SEC Commissioner Mike Slive. “We are pleased to renew this long standing relationship with the Orange Bowl and appreciate having the opportunity to compete in front of a national audience on ESPN against the ACC.”
“The Orange Bowl qualifies as one of the most prestigious events in college football’s postseason and Notre Dame has played a part in that history, three times playing number-one ranked teams in our five previous appearances,” said Notre Dame Athletic Director Jack Swarbrick. “We are honored to partner with two of the premier conferences, the SEC and the Big Ten, to make certain the ACC will have a top-flight opponent on a regular basis.”
As was previously released, the ACC selected the Discover Orange Bowl to be its annual contract bowl partner, serving as the home of the ACC Champion in the new postseason college football arrangement recently announced by the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee. If the ACC Champion is identified as one of the top four teams by the Bowl Championship Series selection committee, then the ACC Champion will participate in the national semifinals and a replacement team from the ACC would participate in the Discover Orange Bowl.
In addition to the partnership between the ACC and the Orange Bowl Committee, it is anticipated that the Orange Bowl will host at least four semifinal games in the new postseason college football structure. In the years that the Orange Bowl serves as a semifinal host, the ACC Champion would then participate in one of the three host bowls that will be established as per the direction of the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee.
The Discover Orange Bowl has been the home of the ACC Champion since 2006 and in the first seven years of partnership, five different ACC teams have competed. Throughout the 78-year history, nine of the current ACC institutions have played in at least one Orange Bowl.