The Marmot Boca Raton Bowl Golf Outing Driven by JM Lexus – held Tuesday, Oct. 27, at the Boca Raton Resort & Club Golf Course – served as the only South Florida stop for the College Football Playoff National Championship Trophy. The event also hosted Mid-American Conference (MAC) Commissioner Dr. Jon Steinbrecher and American Athletic Conference (AAC) Associate Commissioner for Football Scott Draper.
The event, in its second year, also welcomed more than 120 golfers who competed in an 18-hole tournament. The event was designed to show appreciation for sponsors and partners of the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl. As part of the day’s festivities, ESPN West Palm broadcasted live from the course, providing commentary and entertainment for participants.
MAC Commissioner Steinbrecher, AAC Associate Commissioner Draper and Senior Vice President, ESPN Events Pete Derzis provided some insight into why the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl is a great fit for the MAC, AAC and Conference USA, as well as why the bowl game is a must-see sporting event in South Florida. Please see below for quotes from each individual.
Dr. John Steinbrecher – Mid-American Conference Commissioner
On the bowl: “We look forward to the continued evolution of this bowl game. We got through the first year and it was a wonderful first year. We hope to further embed ourselves into the culture and the genre of what goes on around Christmas in this area.”
On FAU Stadium: “It is a wonderful venue. It truly is. It’s very comfortable. It’s got all the amenities you want, and for fans, it is a great venue to watch a game.”
Goal for year two: “We were pleased with how the first year went. For the second year, we want to win the game. That’s the goal we have set.”
On team selection: “The month of November is where we are going to start to weed out the pretenders and contenders. There is a lot of football left. There are some interesting questions out there, so I am curious to see how the young men compete.”
Scott Draper – American Athletic Conference Associate Commissioner for Football
On the bowl: “For the American Athletic Conference and the teams that we have in our league, we find that the Florida weather, the destination, the community, and the supporters of all of our bowl games in Florida are a great attraction and a great piece of fun for our players. For us, coming here for the first time after the success of last year’s bowl game absolutely excites our program and our conference.”
On South Florida: “When we talk about being in this bowl game, and being in South Florida, your eyes light up because you know you’re going to be in one of the best travel destinations in the country. Oh, and by the way, you’re going to play a football game. It’s not hard to sell this property, the stadium, the sun, the weather, the location, so it’s a great thing for all of us.”
Goal for this year’s game: “A football game is always a business trip. What I think this area offers for our league is a chance to be exposed to another part of the country. Be exposed to a community that by all accounts from what I have seen, read and who I have talked to, has fully embraced the bowl game. That to me is the best part of it. One of my primary goals is to create exceptional student-athlete experiences. There is no question that the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl absolutely is part of that great student-athlete experience. There is no question that they will have a great experience here.”
Pete Derzis – ESPN Events Senior Vice President
Goals for year two: “I think we are going to continue to build this model out into something this community can really be proud of, can put on their calendar on an annual basis, and enjoy being part of the post-season collegiate experience. We are most excited about the response from business leaders, community leaders and government leaders. Everybody sees a way to capture value back from the event, and that has really been rewarding.”
“We have a variety of primary goals, but certainly the one that tries to drive us is to make sure that the experience for the student-athlete is great. We know that if the players have a great experience, and if the coaches see that it is a well-managed, well-organized positive experience…word of mouth is the winner in the intercollegiate community.”
Biggest challenge: “I think the biggest challenge for us is managing expectations on team selections. We hit two conference champions last year that were on the border of being in the College Football Playoff in Marshall and Northern Illinois. Realizing that, we’re going to try to get a great competitive matchup; two teams that are playing at the same level and hopefully bring a great game to the community.”
On the area: “We try to be very inclusive in terms of the whole county. We try to spread out our activities. For example, we spread out our hotels to satisfy the needs of the county with a team here at the Boca Raton Resort and a team at PGA National. Then we create events for them in their general geographic areas so we don’t have those kids on the buses up and down I-95 all week. We are conscious of that, and again, it is all driven by the experience for the players.”
The 2015 Marmot Boca Raton Bowl will kick off Tuesday, Dec. 22, on ESPN at 7 p.m. ET, at Florida Atlantic University in Boca Raton, Fla. The game, in its second year, will feature a team from the Mid-American Conference against a team from the American Athletic Conference. Tickets for the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl are now on sale. For more information, visit the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl site.