Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game to Air Nationally on ABC in Third Straight Season Opener

March 26, 2010

ATLANTA (www.chick-fil-akickoffgame.com) – For a third consecutive season, ESPN has chosen to make the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game its prime time ABC national broadcast highlighting the opening weekend of the 2010 college football season Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN officials announced today.

The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, a Chick-fil-A Bowl event, will match projected preseason top-25-ranked powers LSU and North Carolina on Sept. 4 at 8 p.m. (ET) in the Georgia Dome. Each of the first three match-ups has included teams nationally ranked in the top 25.

“Having two top-25 teams who are expected to be contenders for their respective conference championships will certainly deliver a BCS-type atmosphere in Atlanta,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “There’s no doubt this is a top game of the opening weekend and we’re thrilled that ABC will deliver the Tigers and Tar Heels to a national audience.”

The 2009 season-opening Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game featured two top-10 teams, Alabama and Virginia Tech, in a sold-out game that was also nationally broadcast on ABC. The match-up drew a second consecutive on-site appearance by ESPN’s College GameDay show and delivered more than 25,000 fans for its pre-game fan activities.

The No. 5 Alabama vs. No. 7 Virginia Tech game earned a 4.2 rating on ABC and saw more than 5.5 million viewers tune in to the broadcast.

“Projected preseason top 25 programs LSU and North Carolina meeting in Atlanta is a fabulous way to open the 2010 Saturday Night Football schedule,” said Dave Brown, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions. “We look forward to working with the Chick-fil-A Bowl to continue the event’s successful first two years.”

Alabama defeated No. 9 Clemson in the inaugural Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, using the win to help propel them to a No. 1 national ranking and an eventual BCS bowl berth. Alabama’s defeat of No. 7 Virginia Tech in 2009 began their national championship season and showcased Heisman Trophy winner Mark Ingram on a national stage.

About the Chick-fil-A Bowl:
The Chick-fil-A Bowl is the ninth-oldest bowl game in the country and hosts the longest-running rivalry series between the ACC and SEC. Now in its 43rd year, the Chick-fil-A Bowl has established itself as one of the nation’s elite bowl games with a string of 13 consecutive sellouts and has earned a reputation as one of the most competitive bowls in the nation. Ten of the last 18 games have been decided by a touchdown or less. The Chick-fil-A Bowl has disbursed more than $97 million in team payouts over its 42-year history and has increased team payout every year since 1996. The Bowl also leads all other bowl games in charitable and scholarship contributions, giving more than $1.2 million to organizations in need in 2009 alone. Other events under the Chick-fil-A Bowl brand include the Chick-fil-A Bowl Challenge head coach and celebrity golf event each April and the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game season-opening game over Labor Day weekend which will host two top-10 teams, Alabama and Virginia Tech, to open the 2009 season.