To quote Queen: “Another one bites the dust.”
ESPN Events has cancelled yet another of the bowl games that it owns and operates. The network announced Sunday, it has cancelled the Ticketmaster Birmingham Bowl. This year would have been the 15th year the bowl was played.
Ticketmaster Birmingham Bowl Executive Director Mark Meadows said in a prepared statement, the cancellation was due to the continuing trend of teams opting out of the “bowl season” for the 2020-21 college football season.
“We have made the difficult decision to cancel the TicketSmarter Birmingham Bowl,” said Meadows. “As the inventory of available teams lessened, our ability to stage the game was compromised. We will direct our focus to next year’s bowl, and look forward to staging the game in the 2021 season.”
The Ticketmaster Birmingham Bowl was scheduled to take place Jan. 1 at Legion Field. It is now the 13th bowl game canceled this season and third this month. The current list of cancelled games is noted below.
- Bahamas Bowl (C-USA vs. MAC)
- Celebration Bowl (MEAC vs. SWAC)
- Fenway Bowl (AAC vs. ACC)
- Hawaii Bowl (AAC vs. Mountain West)
- Holiday Bowl (ACC vs. Pac-12)
- Las Vegas Bowl (Pac-12 vs. SEC)
- Los Angeles Bowl (Pac-12 vs. Mountain West)
- Pinstripe Bowl (ACC vs. Big Ten)
- Quick Lane Bowl (ACC, Big Ten, MAC)
- Redbox Bowl (Big Ten vs. Pac-12)
- Sun Bowl (ACC vs. Pac-12)
- Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl (AAC vs. WAC)
- Ticketmaster Birmingham Bowl (SEC vs. AAC)
Early this week, it was announced that the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl — another bowl owned and operated by ESPN Events — was canceled.
According to information provided to the media, the cancellation happened as a result of COVID-19 restrictions enacted in the Southern Methodist University (SMU) football program.
As a result of the game’s cancellation, SMU’s planned opponent, the University of Texas San Antonio (UTSA) will now play in the SERVPRO First Responder Bowl. The game is scheduled to take place at 3:30 p.m. ET on Dec. 26 on ABC. UTSA’s opponent for the game will be announced in the coming days.
Clint Overby, Vide President of ESPN Events, shared disappointment at the announcement, and offered consolation to audiences and fans in a prepared statement.
“While we are disappointed in having to cancel the game, our top priority is the health and safety of all parties involved,” said Overby. “We wish SMU, their student-athletes, coaches and administrators well during this time.”
Fans who bought tickets for the Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl will receive full refunds automatically. Refunds could take as much as five business days to receive.
Tuesday’s announcement was the second this month involving cancellation of one of this season’s bowl schedule. The cancellation of the Las Vegas Bowl was announced early this month due to the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The game was scheduled to be the first college football bowl game to ever take place in the recently constructed Allegiant Stadium, which is the home of the NFL’s Las Vegas Raiders. It was set to feature a matchup of teams from the Pac-12 and Southeastern Conference (SEC).
Las Vegas Bowl Executive Director John Saccenti was quoted at the time as saying he hoped the bowl would be able to be played next season.
“Unfortunately we will have to wait another year to present the Las Vegas Bowl in its new home,” said Saccenti. “This was a difficult decision but the right one considering that our game was founded nearly three decades ago to help drive tourism to the Entertainment Capital of the World during the month of December. We are looking forward to making our bowl week bigger and better than ever in 2021.”
Larry Scott, Pac-12 Commissioner shared Saccenti’s hopes for next year’s Las Vegas Bowl in his own comments.
“The Pac-12 is disappointed for our teams and fans that the Las Vegas Bowl has been forced to cancel this year’s game,” said Scott. “We look forward to next year’s game, which promises to be a fantastic national stage in one of the world’s best football stadiums, to showcase Pac-12 football.”
SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey also expressed his disappointment at the announcement.
“We are disappointed the Las Vegas Bowl has been cancelled for the 2020 football season and will miss the opportunity for SEC student-athletes to experience an exciting new venue,” said Sankey. “We have no doubt the Las Vegas Bowl will be a great part of the future SEC bowl lineup and look forward to our partnership in the years ahead.”
The 2019 Las Vegas Bowl featured a matchup of the Washington Huskies and then No. 19 Boise State Broncos at Sam Boyd Stadium. Washington won the game 38-7.
The Las Vegas Bowl and Tropical Smoothie Cafe Frisco Bowl are two of 17 total bowl games that are owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.
More information on the ESPN networks’ college football coverage is available online along with all of the latest college football news at:
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