For fans of college football, the bowl season provides a welcome extension to the regular season — a chance to catch some additional football action, generally with high-quality matchups featuring winning teams from separate conferences that don’t often see their teams face off. And for those who attend the postseason contests, the trip generally offers a chance to visit a warm, often tropical or subtropical location destination at a time when the weather back home tends to be much less hospitable.
Of course, this makes the Grand Strand — with its temperate weather, easy accessibility, and long list of facilities, activities and accommodations — a prime candidate for postseason play. And in December 2020, a brand-new bowl game is set to make its debut in the area: the Myrtle Beach Bowl.
Presented by ESPN Events, the Myrtle Beach Bowl will pair teams from a trio of conference partners — Conference USA, the Mid-American Conference and the Sun Belt Conference — with each conference participating up to four times during the five-year period between 2020 and 2025. The games will be played in Conway’s Brooks Stadium, the regular-season home of the Coastal Carolina University Chanticleers, which is located about 11 miles inland from downtown Myrtle Beach. All of the Myrtle Beach Bowl games will be televised nationally on ESPN’s networks.
“We are pleased to bring postseason college football to the greater Myrtle Beach area and are thrilled to have representation from three of our conference partners — Conference USA, MAC and Sun Belt,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming and ESPN Events. “The addition of this bowl game brings yet another opportunity to showcase all that Myrtle Beach has to offer.”
Brooks Stadium and the Game-Day Experience
Found on the Coastal Carolina University campus, Brooks Stadium first began hosting college football games in 2003, and has been ranked among the nation’s top stadiums in attendance based on capacity. The stadium’s Benton Field is known for its unique playing surface — its Powerblade SD artificial turf boasts a distinctive shade of teal that gives it the moniker “The Surf Turf.”
With an original capacity of just under 6,500, the stadium has undergone a series of renovations since its opening, with the most recent expansion phase completed before the start of the 2019 season. Weighing in at $31.8 million, the latest renovation phase added a west-side upper deck, premium suites (including a new 300-person luxury suite), additional concessions, party decks and more, increasing the stadium’s total seating capacity to 20,000.
For fans of college football, the game-day experience in Conway offers all of the passions, pageantry, spirit and traditions of college football — but without the hard-to-navigate crowds and traffic found on game day in larger bowl-hosting cities or in larger college towns throughout the Southeast such as Columbia and Clemson. Further, the scene outside the stadium on game days in Conway offers many of the usual traditions college football fans have grown to love — including tailgate parties on the CCU campus under tents and live oak trees.
The addition of the new bowl game marks a big win for the Myrtle Beach area.
“Visit Myrtle Beach is thrilled to team up once again with ESPN and Coastal Carolina to bring another major sporting event to our region,” said Karen Riordan, president and CEO of the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce. “It is a fantastic addition to the sports offerings in the Myrtle Beach area, and our exciting destination will ensure that players, coaches and fans will have a great experience.”
The Myrtle Beach Bowl serve’s as the first bowl game in the state of South Carolina, and also promises to provide an image boost for the Coastal Carolina University community.
“We are honored to be a part of history in establishing the first bowl game in the state of South Carolina,” said Matt Hogue, vice president for intercollegiate athletics at Coastal Carolina University. “The brand impact for our university from this game and the excitement of college football during the bowl season will be immeasurable and represents another example of how important sports tourism is to the promotion of our region.”
And for ESPN Events, the new bowl game represents a strong addition to a portfolio that already boasts 32 collegiate sporting events worldwide, including 15 college bowl games, three Labor Day weekend college football games, an FCS opening-weekend game, 10 college basketball events, a college softball event and two college award shows. Together, this impressive roster of events accounts for more that 375 hours of live programming annually on the ESPN networks, reaching nearly 64 million viewers and attracting over 800,000 attendees each year.
For more information on the Myrtle Beach Bowl, visit myrtlebeachbowlgame.com.
Ready to catch some of the hard-hitting postseason action on the gridiron while warming your winter with a December 2020 trip to the Carolina coast? Book your bowl getaway to The Cottages at North Beach Plantation today. With our comfortable and luxurious accommodations and the wide range of amenities offered on-site, we’ve got everything you’ll need to catch the big game in comfort and style.