The seventh annual Cricket Celebration Bowl – to be played Saturday, Dec. 17 at noon ET at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and televised live on ABC – has extended its first invitation to Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) college football champion North Carolina Central University. The Eagles defeated rival Norfolk State 48-14 on Saturday to earn the invitation. They will play the champion of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC).
“Congratulations to MEAC champion North Carolina Central for punching their ticket to the Cricket Celebration Bowl,” said Executive Director John Grant, who was on-site at the game in Norfolk, Va., to present North Carolina Central Head Coach Trey Oliver with the official invitation. “We are excited for the Eagles to make their second appearance and join us in this championship matchup.”
North Carolina Central last played in the Cricket Celebration Bowl in 2016 when they faced Grambling State.
Now in its seventh year, the Cricket Celebration Bowl has established itself as a premier college football bowl game, celebrating the heritage, legacy, pageantry, and tradition of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The championship-style game between the MEAC and SWAC champions is broadcast nationally on ABC. ESPN Events collaborates with its sponsors and Divine Nine Greek organizations to organize the game’s ancillary events, which includes a fan experience, community service projects, and more.
North Carolina A&T won the inaugural Celebration Bowl game in 2015. In all, the Aggies have captured four of the six Celebration Bowl titles, including the three straight from 2017-19. After a one-year absence due to the pandemic, the Celebration Bowl returned in 2021 with a sellout crowd of 48,653.
Celebration Bowl Games (2015-present):
2015 North Carolina A&T def. Alcorn State, 41-34
2016 Grambling State def. North Carolina Central, 10-9
2017 North Carolina A&T def. Grambling State, 21-14
2018 North Carolina A&T def. Alcorn State, 24-22
2019 North Carolina A&T def. Alcorn, 64-44
2020 Not played due to pandemic
2021 South Carolina State def. Jackson State, 31-10
Fans can purchase tickets to the Cricket Celebration Bowl online at thecelebrationbowl.com or ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000. Prices range from $20 to $210 excluding taxes and fees. A full list of events surrounding the game are available on the event’s website.
For MEAC fans, a special rate is being offered at the Atlanta Marriott Marquis and is available for December 17-18. Please visit the Celebration Bowl website for more details.
For SWAC fans, a special rate is being offered at the Hilton Atlanta, and is available for December 17-18. Please visit the Celebration Bowl website for more details.
Additional hotel rooms are available at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites Atlanta Downtown and Spring Hill Suites. Please visit the Celebration Bowl website for more details.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a portfolio of collegiate sporting events nationwide. In 2022, the 32-event schedule includes three early-season college football kickoff games, 17 college bowl games, 11 college basketball events, and a college softball event, which account for approximately 400 hours of live programming, while reaching nearly 64 million viewers and attracting over 800,000 annual attendees. With satellite offices in more than 10 cities across the country, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.
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