Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl announces Dec. 30 kickoff in Dallas

FORT WORTH, TEXAS, April 19, 2011 - The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will return to Dallas for the second-straight year as the ninth edition of the nationally-televised postseason college football bowl game on ESPN will be played Friday, Dec. 30, at SMU’s Gerald J. Ford Stadium with an 11 a.m. CST kickoff.

“For the fifth year in a row, we are very pleased to have a post-Christmas game date which will be featured on ESPN,” said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl.  “We also look forward to continuing our relationship with SMU after staging a highly successful event at Ford Stadium this past December.”

Due to renovations at TCU’s Amon G. Carter Stadium, the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl was played at Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas where a facility record crowd of 36,742 watched Army post a 16-14 win over SMU.  The 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl currently features a matchup between schools from Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference.

“We are excited to serve as the host of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl for the second-straight year,” said Steve Orsini, SMU’s director of athletics.  “We enjoyed our association with the bowl staff and committee in 2010 and look forward to working with the group again in 2011.  As we stated when we signed the initial agreement last August, the patriotism that this game represents is something with which we are proud to be associated.  In addition, the hosting of this game in our stadium last December showcased our school and campus before a national television audience, and we look forward to having that opportunity again in 2011.”

The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, which is scheduled to return to Amon G. Carter Stadium in 2012, has featured a military theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the military are prevalent throughout the game.  Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing military hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military’s top skydiving teams; on-field induction ceremonies; military bands and honor guards; and the awarding of the annual “Great American Patriot Award” (GAPA) presented by Armed Forces Insurance.

TCU announced a $105-million renovation of the west side and north end zone of Amon G. Carter Stadium in August 2010 to upgrade amenities and transform the historic Fort Worth icon into the "Camden Yards" of collegiate football stadiums.  Construction began immediately following TCU's final 2010 home game and is slated for completion prior to the Horned Frogs’ 2012 regular season.

“Due to our continued improvements to Amon G. Carter Stadium, we will be unable to host the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” said Chris Del Conte, TCU’s director of athletics.  “Our stadium and city is the true home for this patriotic bowl game and we look forward to showcasing our new football facility upon its return following the 2012 regular season.”

Bell Helicopter, a Textron Inc. company, joined the bowl on August 23, 2006, as the title sponsor of the postseason college football game formerly known as the PlainsCapital Fort Worth Bowl (2003, 2004) and the Fort Worth Bowl (2005).  2006 marked the first year for the adoption of the “Armed Forces Bowl” name, making the official title the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. Bell Helicopter has twice exercised its option for title sponsorship of the game. The current agreement was signed in September 2009 to continue the sponsorship for the 2010 and 2011 games with a two-year option for 2012 and 2013.

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), ticket information for the 2011 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be released later this spring and can be obtained by calling the bowl office at 817/810-0012. Military veterans receive discounted tickets and active-duty personnel receive free admittance via the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl corporate military ticket underwriting program.  Additional information on all bowl activities can be obtained at www.ArmedForcesBowl.com