Atlanta businessman John Grant has been appointed executive director of the Celebration Bowl announced today. The new postseason college football bowl game, owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, is set to premiere at noon ET Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, live on ABC. The Celebration Bowl, which showcases the legacy, values and traditions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, will pit the conference champion from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference against the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion.
With a distinguished history of professional success and leadership, Grant has led the 100 Black Men of Atlanta as chief executive officer for the past 14 years. He joined the organization in 1988 at age 30, becoming the 100 Black Men of Atlanta’s youngest member. Among his myriad awards and accolades, Grant most recently was selected as an inductee into the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s 2015 Hospitality Hall of Fame.
“John has long been committed to the Atlanta community, and we are excited to have him lead our efforts with the Celebration Bowl,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president, ESPN Events. “He has demonstrated his leadership and guidance with the 100 Black Men of Atlanta for over a decade, and he has great passion for the tradition and legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”
Grant serves on several boards including the Atlanta Sports Council, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Central Atlanta Progress, Georgia Humanities Council, Emory University Center for Ethics, and the National Wildlife Federation. He also served on the working committee and advisory board for the Center for Civil and Human Rights along with the Early Learning Commission for the United Way.
“I am looking forward to leading a new tradition of celebrating the best in HBCU football with the Celebration Bowl,” Grant said. “ESPN leads the way in delivering the best college football experience, and we look to build a longstanding tradition of uplifting the African American community and the significance of HBCUs with a game that will kick off the college football bowl season in Atlanta.”
For more information, visit www.TheCelebrationBowl.com. ESPN Events also manages the college football season-opening MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney, another game that features these two conferences and highlights the traditions of HBCUs, which kicks off at 3:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 6, at the Orlando Citrus Bowl, live on ESPN.
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games, 13 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Boca Raton, Boise, Birmingham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Albuquerque, St. Petersburg and Las Vegas, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as provides unique experiences for teams and fans.
ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); Orlando Kickoff (Florida); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)
AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Marine Corps Base Camp Smedley D. Butler, Okinawa, Japan); DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s Classic Presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic Presented by Corona (Hartford/Storrs, Conn.); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan) and State Farm Champions Classic (Chicago)