“We are pleased to be part of college football’s opening weekend from the Cramton Bowl in Montgomery, Ala., with these two outstanding FCS programs,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president, ESPN Events. “The greater Montgomery community has been very supportive of the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl since its inception in 2014, so to usher in the 2017 college football season and spotlight this community with their first-class facilities and staffing, is a logical choice.”
City of Montgomery Mayor Todd Strange said, “The Montgomery Kickoff Classic complements the flood of sporting events, festivals and conventions that now call Montgomery home and have helped our hotel occupancy rate soar to the highest level in the state. This signature event will make the Montgomery brand even more synonymous with sports tourism in the Southeast, and we are grateful to ESPN, the Central Alabama Sports Commission and the Chamber for bringing this first ever experience kicking-off the college football season to our city, further propelling the Capital of Dreams to the forefront of the sports world.”
Montgomery County Commission Chairman Elton N. Dean, Sr., said, “The Commission is thrilled about the opportunity to once again work with ESPN, the City of Montgomery and the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce to spotlight Montgomery County, Alabama, as a sports-loving, supportive community. The matchup between Jacksonville State and the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga will be an exciting way to kick off the 2017 college football season.”
Participating Team Quotes
“This is a tremendous opportunity for our football program and for our University,” said Greg Seitz, Athletic Director at Jacksonville State University. “The chance to draw a worldwide audience that will be tuned in to watch Jacksonville State kick off the college football season is one we couldn’t pass up. It’s a great opportunity to showcase our program and FCS football to a massive audience. This opportunity enhances what we already thought was a great schedule for our fans next year. Montgomery is right in the middle of a huge recruiting area for us in central Alabama and an easy game for fans to travel to. It allows us a great opportunity to showcase the Gamecocks, the Marching Southerners and our entire University to fans who may not have the opportunity to travel to our campus.”
“UT CHATTANOOGA is thrilled that ESPN has chosen our football team to play Jacksonville State on national television in Montgomery, Alabama, to kick off the college football season,” said David Blackburn, Vice Chancellor and Director of Athletics at The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga. “We want to sincerely thank ESPN, Johnny Williams, Executive Director of the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl, Greg Seitz, AD at Jacksonville State and the City of Montgomery. We’re grateful for the opportunity to showcase UTC and compete against Jacksonville State on the national platform of ESPN.”
The game is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; FCS opening-weekend game; 13 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.
ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Orlando, Fla.); Montgomery Kickoff Classic (Montgomery, Ala.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (Uncasville, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off(Brooklyn, N.Y.); PK80 (Portland, Ore.); State Farm Armed Forces Classic (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu); State Farm Champions Classic (New York City); Tire Pros Invitational(Orlando, Fla.) and Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.)