Atlanta may be underdog in Champions Bowl bid (updated)

Atlanta plans to submit a bid within two weeks to host the Champions Bowl, a new college-football postseason game between teams from the SEC and the Big 12, but might be an underdog in the competition.

The SEC Championship game is played here annually, raising questions about whether the SEC would put back-to-back marquee events in the same city and whether the Big 12 would favor putting the new bowl on what could be considered an SEC home field.

“Certainly, you could speculate that hosting the SEC Championship game puts us at a disadvantage,” said Gary Stokan, president of the Chick-fil-A Bowl and a leader of the local group pursuing the Champions Bowl. But he said such speculation would not dissuade Atlanta, one of 10 cities invited this week by the SEC and the Big 12 to bid for the game, from submitting a proposal.

“First off, we were extended an invitation to bid, and out of respect to the SEC and the Big 12, we want to do that,” Stokan said. “Next, we think this city makes sense for the Champions Bowl. … We want to put our best foot forward.”

A major appeal of the event is that it is guaranteed to host a national semifinal in the upcoming college football playoff four times in 12 years. Stokan said that “if for whatever reason” Atlanta does not land the Champions Bowl, the city will continue to pursue a berth in the semifinal rotation, as well as bidding to host the national championship game.

Other cities that received a request for proposal (RFP) on the Champions Bowl are Arlington, Texas (site of Cowboys Stadium); Houston; Jacksonville; Nashville; New Orleans; Orlando; Phoenix; San Antonio; and Tampa. Bids are due by Aug. 22, an unusually fast turnaround. The bowl begins in the 2014 season.

Arlington is considered a strong candidate because of the Cowboys’ lucrative stadium and the fact that both the SEC and the Big 12 have schools in Texas (the SEC one and the Big 12 four). New Orleans also is considered a prime contender because of the Sugar Bowl’s stature as a postseason destination and the SEC’s long relationship with that game.

“We think Atlanta makes a lot of sense for a lot of reasons, but it is a bid and that means competition,” Stokan said. “I have a lot of respect for my colleagues in other cities. It will be fiercely competitive, that is for sure.”

Asked whether the gay-marriage controversy surrounding Chick-fil-A, title sponsor of Atlanta’s bowl game since 1997, could affect the bidding, Stokan provided a prepared statement addressing the issue.

The statement, issued in the name of Peach Bowl Inc., the corporate entity that has managed Atlanta’s bowl since 1968, noted the game’s roots as the Peach Bowl and its history of philanthropy.

“Our corporate mission is to positively impact people’s lives by celebrating college athletics, through best-in-class events and activities that create charitable donations, scholarships, economic impact and memorable experiences,” the statement said. “… We appreciate the contribution that Chick-fil-A is making, and will continue to make, to our events, as well as their long-standing commitment to helping the student-athletes who benefit from them.

“Our desire is to continue in our industry-leading efforts to support charity and scholarship in our home community and those of our partner conferences and teams.”

The SEC declined to comment on the Chick-fil-A controversy and the Champions Bowl bidding process.

Economically, the Champions Bowl will differ from most bowl games, including the Chick-fil-A Bowl, in major ways. The SEC and the Big 12, rather than the bowl itself, will control and sell the TV rights and the corporate naming rights.

That will leave non-title sponsorships and ticket sales as the main revenue sources for local organizers, who will have to decide how much of that revenue to offer the SEC and the Big 12 in the bid proposals.

The SEC and the Big 12 see the bowl as their answer to the Pac 12-Big Ten alliance in the Rose Bowl. The SEC and Big 12 champs will meet in the bowl except when they are obligated to play national semifinal games elsewhere, as often figures to be the case in the four-team playoff that begins with the 2014 season. At such times, other teams from the SEC and Big 12 will be chosen for the bowl.

The Big 12 currently does not have a conference championship game.

– Tim Tucker, AJC

31 comments Add your comment

Dawg Doo

August 8th, 2012
12:29 pm


August 8th, 2012
12:32 pm

Red Stick

August 8th, 2012
12:33 pm

Atlanta does a great job with the SECCG but I just don’t see the appeal of returning to the same place a month later to play in the Champions Bowl. Dallas and New Orleans have the advantage, not just because of the SECCG, but because arguably both are better cities for the game.

Geaux Tigers


August 8th, 2012
12:40 pm

Looking forward to seeing this play out. Hope Atlanta gets it, but I doubt it.

As for the playoffs, I think the powers to be missed one important factor. That is, I think something needs to be done with this stupid preseason rankings. First, it’s based on asumptions and opinions and not actual stats. I think the fair thing would be to start the rankings at a mimimum of four games into the season. This way the ranking is based on actual wins/losses from the current season and would then be actually earned. This preseason rankings give teams an unfair advantage and makes it harder for teams that actually might play better to catch-up in the rankings simply because they didn’t start higher up in the rankings.

All teams deserve to start out even and battle it out on the field!!!


August 8th, 2012
12:43 pm

Doesn’t Dallas has the negatives as Atlanta. Isn’t the Big 12 Championship played in Jerry Jones’ stadium also?

Dallas big plus is it probably could guarantee more revenue cause it’s a bigger stadium. But Dallas is a long haul for SEC fans – South Carolina, Ga, Bama and FLA fans would have a long haul.

Seems like New Orleans is a good halfway point for Big 12 (TX, etc) and SEC fans.


August 8th, 2012
12:46 pm

Nashville would be pretty cool


August 8th, 2012
12:57 pm

Will never happen — move on to next topic. If Dallas wants it — they will have it.

ATLER (Ramblin Wreck)

August 8th, 2012
1:35 pm

Sorry ATL, we’re not getting it. It’s Dallas’s to lose. Maybe Atl can get in on the playoff rotation.


August 8th, 2012
1:37 pm

What does this mean for The Sugar Bowl? Will they still have a relationship with the SEC?


August 8th, 2012
1:47 pm

Of course they are. If this game isn’t at Jerry World I’ll be shocked.


August 8th, 2012
2:00 pm

no chance in hell atlanta gets this, why waste the money bidding, its just like chicago bidding on the olympics, it cost them 75 million just to put a bid together, what a joke, money should have went to helping homeless veterans.

Pat O'Brien

August 8th, 2012
2:09 pm

New Orleans is by far the best venue for any college bowl game, hands down. People can enjoy the French Quarter, stay there, and walk to the Dome for the game. Nothing compares, even remotely IMO.


August 8th, 2012
2:14 pm

Atlanta already has the SECCG and the Chik-fil-A Bowl, both very big events, plus 2 Kickoff Classic games…and the ACC is still trying to figure a way to get its’ championship game here…I don’t see the powers-that-be giving the ATL another game as high profile at the Champions Bowl…but I hope I’m wrong.

David C

August 8th, 2012
2:20 pm

Dallas is a lock for this one. What Jerry wants Jerry gets.


August 8th, 2012
2:33 pm

Probably Now Orleans……

but take a shower after u are there cuz the city is a run down cesspool.


August 8th, 2012
2:39 pm

As long as the game doesn’t end up in NY, Philly, Boston or Chicago. Those cities care nothing about college football. They act like they are the centers of the football world while the most passionate fans actually inhabit SEC cities. Skrew them.


August 8th, 2012
2:47 pm


PennGeorgia State

August 8th, 2012
2:50 pm

Where in Atlanta would you play this game? The Georgia Dump? Arthur says it need to go…


August 8th, 2012
2:58 pm

Red Stick, in my (and many others) humble opinion, there is not a more passionate college football town in the nation than Atlanta…really enjoy my business travel to Dallas and New Orleans but they don’t compare overall to the grip college football has in the metro area.


August 8th, 2012
3:18 pm

Why even have this game in the first place? Yeah, I know: money.

Devil's Advocate

August 8th, 2012
4:29 pm

Dallas, New Orleans, and Atlanta all seem like places worthy of hosting this game but due to existing bowls and conference championship games are the least desireable for fans of schools qualifying to play in this game.

Houston or San Antonio will probably get it while Dallas, NO, and ATL will all end up in the national championship rotation.


August 8th, 2012
5:25 pm

Why not rotate between Dallas & Atlanta? If not then a more nuetrel place such as New Orleans makes sense!

Dawg Bite

August 8th, 2012
5:26 pm

Crap, you are correct sir. Why the need for another bowl game? Oh yea, the SEC and Big 12 need more money? But I would expect either Dallas or New orleans to be the frontrunners for this event. By the way, just heard the guy on WCCP out of Clemson, the flagship station for Clemson athletics, say that the ACC has caught up with other conferences in terms of better head coaches, and that there are now no weak teams in the ACC. Guess he forgot that Duke, BC, and a few others are still in the ACC. Keep on dreaming there, and oh yea, he thinks that Dabba Dabba Do is an elite coach.


August 8th, 2012
5:56 pm

Agree with rhino 100%.

Best hotels within walking distance to stadium, technical infrastructure, experience with big events, multiple direct flights from about everywhere, city that lives and breathes CFB – all with the HOF and perhaps a great new stadium to come – Atlanta is the best choice.

If you have ever been to the Cowboys Stadium you know it is great, but you also know that there is not alot of anyting in the immediate area.


August 8th, 2012
6:52 pm

I don’t see why they couldn’t rotate the thing.


August 8th, 2012
8:35 pm

Atlanta should be in the top two,no better place as far as logistics go and they just flat out know how to do college football.


August 8th, 2012
9:04 pm

sooooo… No Big 12 championship game, yet this game desired is called “Champions Game” ??

I assume the name was derived from it’s holder, 6 years in a row, the SEC

Big 12, and the SEC’s newcomers, do not know what they are getting into……………


August 9th, 2012
10:00 am

Reading Spider’s comment that Chicago’s Olympics bid money “should have went (sic) to helping homeless veterans” makes me despair for this country’s future. I am a veteran of almost 40 years in three different branches of our military and fortunately I’ve never been homeless. On the other side had Chicago’s bid been successful, possibly all the homeless veterans in the area could have been employed and they could have earned their own way, a solution they would have preferred. BTW, learn to speak and write correctly. The correct format for your sentence was, “…should have gone……”

Big Albany Dawg

August 9th, 2012
10:05 am

Bring it on. Not sure why some say we can’t pull it off if we already have the SECC, the Chic-fil-a bowl, the DOUBLE HEADER KICKOFF CLASSIC and something called THE 96 OLYMPICS. I have yet to see that happen in Dallas, Houston, Jacksonville, Nashville, New Orleans, Orlando, Phoenix, San Antonio and Tampa. Not saying those arent great venues as well, (Ok maybe not Jax, Nashville and Tampa).

rench Quarter is vastly over rated

August 9th, 2012
11:38 am

Atl is the best destination for this game. This city has so many alumni here from other areas and that will always ensure a top flight advance ticket sales campaign.

The Ga. Dome is within walking distance to downtown hotels and restuarants and MARTA is great for travel to downtown from the burbs and the airport is close, not to mention our very decent winter weather.

Atl is a major media center with CNN.

The DOME IS best for the fans for the above reasons, Period.
I am no fan of downtown Atl by the way nor of MARTA.
Goooooooooooooooooooo SEC and Dogs !!

Now wait a minute

August 10th, 2012
9:25 pm

Someone has been sniffing glue again. It was stated “and whether the Big 12 would favor putting the new bowl on what could be considered an SEC home field.” How is Atlanta a SEC home field? Championship game? Then let the Big 12 start a Championship game. And in another thought, if Atlanta is a SEC home field, Arlington isn’t? Texas has ONE SEC team, while Texas has 4 Big 12. Is this not an indicator of a home field as well? Put the glue bottle down and step back from the table.