The college football bowl season added a new game on Thursday. The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl was officially announced by the Arizona Sports & Entertainment Commission. In partnership with Campus Insiders, the bowl game will be the first to have a digitally-focused broadcast. Conference affiliates include Conference USA, the Mountain West and Sun Belt. The Arizona Bowl is scheduled for Tuesday, December 29 at 5:30 p.m. MST.
Tucson has not hosted an NCAA bowl game since the 1999 Insight.com Bowl, which started as the Copper Bowl in 1989. Members of Conference USA and Mountain West have met in a bowl game 15 times since 1999, including twice last season. The conferences split the two games in 2014, as Utah State took down UTEP 21-6 in the New Mexico Bowl and Rice beat Fresno State 30-6 in the Hawaii Bowl. Overall, Conference USA leads the Mountain West in the series 8-7 and has won four of the last five meetings.
Sanctioned by the NCAA in March 2015, this will be the 41st NCAA college football game and the third bowl game staged in Arizona and will feature two teams from among the Mountain West Conference, Conference USA and the Sun Belt Conference.
The Sun Belt has had past bowl success against both the aforementioned conferences with a 6-5 record against the Mountain West (including a 16-3 Louisiana-Lafayette win over Nevada in the New Orleans Bowl last year) and 2-1 edge over Conference USA.
Earlier this year, an application was submitted to the National Collegiate Athletics Association (NCAA) by ASEC Chief Operating Officer, Alan Young and the Local Organizing Committee (LOC) chaired by, Ali J. Farhang of Tucson-based Farhang & Medcoff Attorneys.
“Our organization’s charter is to promote the state and its many communities through sports and we know this bowl game will indeed do just that,” said Young. “We are excited to see a NCAA bowl game return to Tucson and we anticipate the community will support it well into the future.”
The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl is the first-ever bowl game to have a digitally-focused broadcast strategy to be orchestrated by primary digital media partner, Campus Insiders complete with social media interaction. A linear television broadcast partner will also be announced shortly.
“We look forward to making college football history,” said Crowley Sullivan, Executive Vice President Campus Insiders. “As the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl game media partner, our goal is to create an enhanced fan experience by giving viewers a unique way to enjoy college football.”
The benefits of the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl will extend beyond the schools, players and fans. The University of Arizona Eller College of Management has estimated the economic impact of the bowl game is projected to be approximately $25 million, generated primarily by tourism and recreational activities and the creation of part-time jobs. In addition, game organizers expect the event to produce a minimum of 2,850 room bookings during game week.
Philanthropic beneficiaries through the partnership with ASEC, Mountain West Conference and Campus Insiders include United Way of Tucson and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Southern Arizona.