ESPN, the worldwide leader in sports, has added another matchup to its already extensive 2018 college football broadcast schedule.
The network has added the MEAC/SWAC Challenge to its annual college football broadcast schedule. The early season game is a matchup of teams from two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). This year’s showdown will pit N.C. Central (MEAC) against Prairie View A&M (SWAC) Sept. 2 at Pete Petit Field at Georgia State Stadium.
The game is one of a number of games owned and operated by ESPN Events. Terms of the deal between ESPN and other involved parties will see ESPN carry the game for the next three years on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend, the traditional opening weekend of the annual college football season.
2018 marks the 14th year that the MEAC/SWAC Challenge has been held. It also marks the return of the game to a neutral field instead of either team’s home field.
Adding to the interest of this year’s game is that it will be played in the same city as the Celebration Bowl, which features the MEAC and SWAC champions facing off in a bowl-season opening championship game. This year’s Celebration Bowl is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 15 at Mercedez Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA. It will be played live on one of ESPN’s networks, which will be announced at a later date.
John Grant, ESPN Events’ Celebration Bowl Executive Director said in a recent interview that placing the MEAC/SWAC Challenge in the same city as the Celebration Bowl made common sense.
“In addition to being a hotbed for college football fandom, Atlanta is a culturally diverse city, with a rich history of HBCU education and excellence,” Grant said. “To begin the HBCU football season in the same city it concludes in, will give fans two vibrant touchpoints for the excitement and pageantry of these matchups.”
MEAC Commissioner Dennis Thomas and SWAC Interim Commissioner Edgar Gantt both agreed.
“I am proud to continue this extraordinary event that showcases the excellent student-athletes and coaches from both the MEAC and the SWAC on a national stage,” Thomas said. “We have a tremendous partnership with ESPN and we appreciate all of their efforts on behalf of both conferences.”
Gantt echoed those sentiments.
“The MEAC/SWAC Challenge is a great contest that our coaches and student-athletes look forward to competing in year after year,” Gantt said. “ESPN Events has done a wonderful job in making sure the MEAC/SWAC Challenge is a first-class event that ultimately sets the stage for the road back to Atlanta.”
More information on the MEAC/SWAC Challenge is available online now at:
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