Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl & Mountain West Conference Renew Partnership

Fort Worth, Texas, October 7, 2009 – The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, has signed a four-year agreement with the Mountain West Conference for one of its teams to participate in the Bowl through 2013, effective with the 2010 football season.

The announcement was made by Brant B. Ringler, Executive Director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, and Mountain West Conference Commissioner Craig Thompson. The agreement assures the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl access to one of the top five selections from the Mountain West as well as access to Texas Christian University’s participation in the game.

The 2009 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will kick off Thursday, Dec. 31, at 11 a.m. CT on ESPN as the postseason college football game ushers in the New Year for the third straight year at Amon G. Carter Stadium.  The seventh edition of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will feature a team from Conference USA against a team from the Mountain West Conference.

“Having the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl played on December 31 is a great way to begin a new year,” said MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson.  “The patriotic theme, the pageantry of the game and then the opportunity to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Fort Worth, ‘Where the West Begins,’ makes for a fantastic bowl experience.”

When the new agreement begins in 2010, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will work with the New Mexico Bowl to ensure that the best possible matchup is created for each local market.

“Considering the climate created by the economy, we are pleased to continue to operate this event at a high level and provide teams from the league with a great postseason experience,” said Clint Overby, senior director of events, ESPN Regional Television.
 
The New Mexico Bowl, also owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, is also part of the Mountain West Conference’s bowl package. The 2009 Albuquerque game will host its fourth annual contest Dec. 19 at University Stadium against a Western Athletic Conference opponent.

The alignment with the Mountain West Conference is the second major announcement in the past five weeks for the Fort Worth-based Armed Forces Bowl as Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. Company, renewed its title sponsorship of the Bowl game for two more years.

The Armed Forces Bowl initially signed Bell Helicopter as the game’s title partner in August 2006. The initial agreement was for two years, with Bell Helicopter picking up a two-year option in December 2007 to be title partner for the game through the 2009 postseason. The new agreement has Bell Helicopter continuing as the Armed Forces Bowl title sponsor through the 2011 game with an option for two additional years for the 2012 and 2013.