The Myrtle Beach area may be getting a college football bowl game as early as 2020.
According to a report by college football reporter Brett McMurphy, formerly of ESPN, the NCAA’s Competition Committee is recommending three new bowl games be added for the 2020 season, and the Myrtle Beach area is among the proposed sites. He cites multiple unnamed sources.
McMurphy says the Competition Committee’s recommendations are expected to be approved Tuesday by the NCAA’s Football Oversight Committee.
Coastal Carolina University’s Brooks Stadium on the Conway campus is the proposed host of the bowl game, McMurphy told The Sun News on Monday. The stadium expanded to 15,000 seats for the 2017 season and is expected to increase its seating capacity to more than 20,000 for the 2018 season.
Coastal Carolina athletics director Matt Hogue said Monday he is aware of the competition committee’s recommendation and the vote on Tuesday, and said the university is willing to be a partner with the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and help Myrtle Beach with its sports tourism efforts.
“Coastal is a tremendous partner for the sports tourism initiative in Myrtle Beach," said Chamber of Commerce executive director of sports tourism Jonathan Paris. "They’re always there to step up when these great opportunities come up for events like they have with the Myrtle Beach Invitational basketball tournament.”
Hogue said he believes Tuesday’s vote won’t solidify the Myrtle Beach bowl, but will be a big step in the process of creating it.
McMurphy reports the NCAA is expected to officially announce any changes to the current bowl formats by July 1.
The game would likely be televised on ESPN or an ESPN network and be held in December. Paris said the chamber has let ESPN handle discussions with NCAA officials about the bowl’s creation.
“There’s no contract signed at this point but we’ve been in discussions with ESPN and we’re very optimistic we’ll be able to get a deal put together,” Paris said. “We think it would be a great fit for the region and it would bring in a lot of tourism in our offseason . . . with the teams and fans coming in, plus also the promotion and awareness ESPN would do across their channels really throughout the football season is really great exposure for our region and the city, so we’re excited about the opportunity.”
McMurphy says Chicago and Myrtle Beach are near locks to host two of the new bowl games.
He told The Sun News on Monday that the Sun Belt Conference, of which Coastal Carolina is a member, would be affiliated with the bowl, and the other team would likely come from either Conference USA or the Mid-American Conference.
The Sun Belt is affiliated with five bowl games, so if it is involved, McMurphy cites sources saying the league could cut ties in 2020 with either the Arizona, Dollar General, Camellia or Cure bowls.
McMurphy writes the Chicago bowl, to be played at Wrigley Field, will feature the Big Ten against the ACC, and to add the Chicago bowl in 2020, the Big Ten is expected to end its affiliation with the San Francisco Bowl (formerly Foster Farms Bowl) after 2019.
The third new bowl could be in South Carolina as well, McMurphy reports. He says Arizona State has shown interest in adding a bowl in Tempe, and Charleston and Greenville, N.C., have shown interest in hosting a bowl in the past.
McMurphy said the new bowls must have a contract with two conferences and/or independents BYU and Army in order to be created.
Paris said the finances of hosting the bowl haven’t been determined. He believes a title sponsor would be involved, though he said Myrtle Beach will be in the game’s title. “I don’t know all the details yet of how it’s going to break out financially because that’s all part of these discussions that are happening,” Paris said. “As you can imagine it’s a pretty complex puzzle to put together with the different partners in place.”
If the three new proposed bowls come to fruition, it will increase the number of bowls to a record 43 games, including the College Football Playoff title game, so a record 65 percent of the 130 FBS schools (84 teams) will play in a bowl game.