ESPN commentator and radio personality Stephen A. Smith will serve as keynote speaker at the 11th annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney in Orlando, Florida. Smith will address players and coaches at the MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff Banquet on Friday, Sept. 4, at Walt Disney World Resort, inside Epcot. For the ninth straight year, SportsCenter anchor Jay Harris will emcee the Kickoff Banquet.
This year’s MEAC/SWAC Challenge will feature the MEAC’s South Carolina State against the SWAC’s University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. The game kicks off at 3:30 p.m. ET Sunday, Sept. 6, live on ESPN from the newly renovated Orlando Citrus Bowl. The season-opening game annually puts the spotlight on Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Several additional events take place around the game, including a high school career panel, a pep rally, tailgate and the halftime Battle of the Bands.
Smith, a featured commentator on ESPN’s “SportsCenter” and ESPN2’s “First Take,” and host of SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio’s “Stephen A. Smith Show,” is a graduate of Winston-Salem State University, which is part of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) in NCAA Division II. Graduating in 1991 with a degree in mass communications, the New York City native began his journalism career in North Carolina, at the Winston-Salem Journal. In 2011, WSSU awarded Smith an honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.
“Of all the things I’ve done throughout my career, there’s nothing more important than reaching back to talk to youngsters, especially those within my community,” Smith said. “As a proud graduate from an HBCU, it resonates and touches me that much more. To put it simply: I can’t wait. And I hope the feeling’s mutual. Here I come.”
Said Marcia Keegan, vice president, ESPN Production: “Stephen A. is a very dynamic speaker who will enlighten and engage the audience with advice and anecdotes told through the prism of his own experiences.”
Individual tickets for the game are available through Ticketmaster at 1-800-745-3000 or via www.ticketmaster.com. Special ticket packages for the MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney and Walt Disney World Theme Park admission can be purchased at via this link. For travel packages that include resort accommodations, game tickets, theme park tickets and much more, visit AnthonyTravel.com/MEACSWAC or call 1-888-632-6951.
The MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney is owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN. For more information, visit meacswacchallenge.com.
About Stephen A. Smith
Stephen A. Smith is a featured commentator on ESPN2’s First Take and host of the daily Stephen A. Smith Show on SiriusXM’s Mad Dog Sports Radio. The two-hour show is produced and broadcast from ESPN Audio’s headquarters in Bristol, Conn. From 2011 until 2014, Smith hosted a two-hour local show on weekdays on New York’s ESPN Radio 98.7FM. For one year, starting in 2011, he also hosted a local show on ESPN LA 710AM in Los Angeles, covering both coasts. Smith is also a featured columnist on ESPN.com, writing for ESPNLA.com and ESPNNY.com. Previously, Smith held several positions – most recently as a general sports columnist – during 16 years with the Philadelphia Inquirer, from 1994 to 2010, and with the Winston-Salem Journal, the Greensboro News and Record and the New York Daily News.
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, and 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)