TCU announced today it's spending $105 million to redo Amon G. Carter Stadium -- everything from new and more concession stands to a raised seating bowl on the west and north ends to suites and club seating to an expanded capacity of close to 50,000. Promises the announcement, Amon Carter will be "the Camden Yards of collegiate football stadiums." Only, there's one small problem: The release says the extreme stadium makeover begins "immediately following TCU's final home game in the 2010 season," which is a November 13 showdown against San Diego State.
Which means: The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, formerly known as the Fort Worth Bowl and set for an 11 a.m. kickoff on December 30, needs a temporary home. Writes ESPNDallas's Jeff Caplan this evening, he knows just where it's going: the SMU campus, at least according to a source who says it'll be official tomorrow. But, writes Caplan, that's all that's moving to Dallas: "The Armed Forces Bowl announced Monday in a press release that both teams will still be housed in Fort Worth and all activities surrounding the game will continue to be centered in Fort Worth."
Update at 11 a.m. Tuesday: It's offficial: SMU will indeed host the Armed Forces Bowl. Press release after the jump. Elvis Costello could not be happier.
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Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to play 2010 game at SMU's Ford Stadium
Fort Worth, Texas, August 17, 2010 - The 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be played at SMU's Gerald J. Ford Stadium in Dallas as Amon G. Carter Stadium recently announced plans for renovation.
The Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be televised live from Ford Stadium at 11 a.m. CST on Thursday, Dec. 30, on ESPN. The eighth edition of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl marks the first time in the bowl's history that the game will be played somewhere other than Fort Worth's Amon G. Carter Stadium, located on TCU's campus. The change in venue is arranged for one year due to renovation plans for Amon G. Carter stadium, which are set to take place immediately following the Horned Frogs' regular-season schedule this fall.
"Fort Worth certainly remains the home of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl, and we are excited about the enhancements in store for Amon G. Carter Stadium," said Brant B. Ringler, executive director of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. "In the mean time, we are looking forward to the opportunity to showcase our bowl in Dallas to those fans who may not have had a chance to experience our game before, and we truly appreciate SMU and its athletic department for providing a quality venue for our bowl game."
The decision to vacate Amon G. Carter Stadium for the 2010 game was mutually agreed upon by TCU representatives and the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl. The bowl then reached an agreement with SMU to hold the 2010 postseason bowl game at Ford Stadium.
"We are very excited to serve as the host of the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl this December and help our friends at TCU and in Fort Worth," said Steve Orsini, SMU's director of athletics. "The patriotism that this game represents is something with which we are proud to be associated, and we are more than happy to host this game in our great stadium on our beautiful campus right in the heart of Dallas."
While the game itself will change locations for the year, bowl week activities and team hotels for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will remain in Fort Worth. TCU expects to play its 2011 regular season at Amon G. Carter, with plans for the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl to return for the 2011 postseason.
Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl 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. In 2009, chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, accepted the GAPA at half-time on behalf of the men and women of the armed forces. Previous recipients include General David H. Petraeus, Preston "Pete" Geren and Gordon England.
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 exercised its option for title sponsorship of the game twice. The current agreement was signed September 2009 to continue the sponsorship for the 2010 and 2011 games with a two-year option for 2012 and 2013.
Ticket information for the 2010 Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl will be released in the next few weeks and can be obtained at www.ArmedForceBowl.com. Military veterans receive discounted tickets and active-duty personnel receive free admittance via the Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl corporate military ticket underwriting program.