Wednesday, December 23, 2009

ACC, Big East to stay with Charlotte bowl

Agreements have been reached with the ACC and the Big East to keep teams from those conferences playing in the Meineke Car Care Bowl for four more years, Ken Haines, president and CEO of Raycom Sports said Wednesday.

Haines said the contracts have not been signed but the details have been finalized to extend the relationships with both conferences.

Meineke, meanwhile, has one more year remaining on its contract as title sponsor of the game.

The bowl gets the third choice among Big East teams and next year will have the fifth pick from the ACC behind the BCS game, the Chick-fil-A Bowl, the Champs Bowl and the Sun Bowl.

Bowl organizers anticipate a crowd of more than 50,000 fans Saturday when North Carolina meets Pittsburgh at 4:30 p.m. in Bank of America Stadium.

Will Webb, executive director of the bowl, said approximately 45,000 tickets have been sold so far and, if the weather cooperates, he anticipates a solid walk-up crowd on Saturday.

“We think it’s a pretty good year,” Webb said. “We wish we could have sold it out but you can’t hit a home run every year.”

The combination of the economy, a date one day after Christmas and North Carolina’s second consecutive appearance in the game are factors in ticket sales, Webb said.

North Carolina has sold approximately 13,000 tickets, Webb said. Pittsburgh is expected to account for approximately 5,000 tickets, Haines said.

“When you look at bowl attendance overall, the economy is factor,” Haines said. “While Pittsburgh is a great team and program, with the distance and the day after Christmas, it’s difficult for many of their fans to get here.

“But we’re going to be very pleased with a crowd of 50-some thousand.”
-- Ron Green Jr.