Big Ten Announces New Partnership with Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl

July 23, 2013

The Big Ten Conference extends its relationship with the Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank and enters into an agreement with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to secure a commitment to have a conference school play in the postseason games, on a rotating basis, during a seven-year period following the 2013-2019 seasons.

Starting in 2013, the Big Ten will place seven teams over a seven-year period in the Metroplex. The 2013 Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank will host the Big Ten on an ESPNU televised game.  Their opponent will be a school from Conference USA and the game will kickoff at 11 a.m. (CT) on Wednesday, Jan. 1, 2014 at the Cotton Bowl stadium in Dallas, Texas. 

“The Big Ten has played bowl games in the state of Texas annually since 1995 and we look forward to continuing that tradition by participating in the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl and Heart of Dallas Bowl presented by PlainsCapital Bank,” Big Ten Commissioner James E. Delany said. “The opportunity to play in a historic venue like Cotton Bowl Stadium first drew us to the Heart of Dallas Bowl, and the hospitality of the people of Dallas and the charitable generosity of the bowl committee make this an ideal partnership. In addition, the agreement with the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will allow the Big Ten to maintain an annual presence in the state of Texas, which is home to a large alumni base from conference schools. These two postseason games in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex area are welcome additions to our national bowl lineup.”

"We are extremely pleased to extend our relationship with the Big Ten for the Heart of Dallas Bowl game,” said Kern Egan, Heart of Dallas board member. “The ongoing support of one of college football’s premier conferences will continue to help the Heart of Dallas raise money for charities to make our city a better place.”

Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl has featured the “armed forces” theme since 2006. Patriotic overtones recognizing all five branches of the service are prevalent throughout the game. Past Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowls have included fan-fest areas showcasing armed forces hardware; flyovers; demonstrations by several of the military's top skydiving teams; custom homes awarded to wounded warriors; on-field induction ceremonies; armed forces bands and honor guards; the annual Great American Patriot Award presented by Armed Forces Insurance; and the Armed Forces Merit Award presented by the Football Writers Association of America.

“This is another major milestone for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl,” said Brant Ringler, BHAFB executive director.  “We look forward to working with the Big Ten Conference officials and Heart of Dallas Bowl representatives during this process to produce exciting postseason football games in North Texas.”

With Rice defeating Air Force 33-14, the 2012 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl drew an attendance of 40,754 and the largest TV audience in the game’s history with an average of 2,584,000 households.  The ESPN telecast had a 2.6 average household coverage rating - marking the bowl’s second-highest rating in the event history.

After two seasons as the TicketCity Bowl, the name of the postseason game at the Cotton Bowl was changed to the Heart of Dallas Bowl.  The 2013 game featured Oklahoma State defeating Purdue before a crowd of 48,313.  The bowl game raised $100,000 for the Metro Dallas Homeless Alliance.