In what could be a test run for a potential BCS partnership some day down the line, the bowl officials and the soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders have announced a six-year deal to host the 2020 Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl at the new, state-of-the-art Las Vegas Stadium and will feature a team from the Pac-12 Conference against a team from either the SEC or Big Ten Conference, they announced Tuesday at the Palms Resort.
“This is a ground-breaking development for our game and for our city,” John Saccenti, Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl executive director, said in a release. “In less than three decades the Las Vegas Bowl has grown into a must-see event each December and this collaboration takes us to the next level in not only the bowl world, but also the sports landscape as we will welcome three of the top conference brands in the nation to our event, which will be played in a stadium that is second-to-none.”
The new agreement will run from the 2020 game through the 2025 game. One major change is the Las Vegas Bowl will move to a post-Christmas date for the first time in its history. During the agreement, the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl will get the No. 2 selection from the Pac-12 once the College Football Playoff selection has been decided. The event will share that position with the Holiday Bowl.
“We are excited to continue our partnership with the Las Vegas Bowl and to join with the SEC, Big Ten, Las Vegas Stadium, ESPN and LVCVA to take the Las Vegas Bowl to the next level of success in the years to come,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott said. “The experience of hosting some of our premier Pac-12 events in Las Vegas has been tremendous for our student-athletes, universities and fans, and to have the opportunity to play in such an incredible stadium against top quality competition on a national stage through ESPN will be welcomed by our student-athletes and fans.”
— Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl (@LasVegasBowl) June 4, 2019
While the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl shares the No. 2 spot with the Pac-12, it will share a spot with the Belk Bowl in the SEC “pool of six” that follows the CFP and Citrus selections, hosting a team here in 2020, 2022 and 2024.
“We are pleased to add the Las Vegas Bowl to the SEC bowl lineup,” SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey said. “The Las Vegas Bowl provides the SEC with a new and exciting destination for our student-athletes and traveling fans at a location outside our traditional geographic footprint and in a much-anticipated matchup with a Pac-12 Conference opponent.
“We enjoy great relationships with some of the best bowl games in college football. With the addition of the Las Vegas Bowl, the SEC continues to provide a wide array of rewarding bowl game experiences for our student-athletes and fans in celebration of a successful season.”
To balance out the stunted years with the SEC, the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl will also share a Big Ten spot with the Music City Bowl — after the CFP, Citrus and Outback selections — and will host a team here in 2021, 2023 and 2025.
Big Ten officials found the agreement to be an exciting one, especially for midwestern football fans that have relocated to the west coast.
“We are excited to announce a new partnership with the Las Vegas Bowl through 2025 and to add to our longstanding bowl ties with the Pac-12 in a new location,” Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. “The city of Las Vegas is a world-class destination that will be attractive to the participants and fans from our schools, and the support provided by the Raiders organization and ESPN will create a tremendous opportunity to elevate this game into a must-see event during the bowl season.”
Every Las Vegas Bowl has been played at UNLV’s Sam Boyd Stadium since it debuted in 1992 but, in 2020, the event will move to the $1.8 billion Las Vegas Stadium currently under construction. As the new home of the NFL’s Raiders franchise as well as UNLV football, seating capacity will be approximately 65,000, including 128 suites.
“The Raiders are proud to partner with the LVCVA and ESPN Events to bring the tradition of the Las Vegas Bowl to Las Vegas Stadium, which will provide an exciting destination for fans from the Pac-12, SEC and Big Ten conferences,” Raiders President Marc Badain said . “The Raiders are committed to working with the LVCVA to continue to attract elite sporting events to the newest world-class venue in the Entertainment Capital of the World.”
The Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA), which has been overseeing the project, was happy to welcome another tourist draw for Sin City.
“We’re pleased to welcome the 2020 Las Vegas Bowl’s new partners, the Southeastern Conference and Big Ten,” said Steve Hill, CEO and president of the LVCVA. “The matchup against the Pac-12 Conference will excite fans across the country, highlight our new stadium and serve as a great economic boost for Southern Nevada.”
This year’s Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl will still at Sam Boyd Stadium Saturday, Dec. 21, at 4:30 p.m. PT. It will be televised nationally during primetime on ABC, featuring the top choice from the Mountain West against a team from the Pac-12 Conference and is one of 15 bowl games owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.
***Information provided in this story was obtained via news release