The Detroit Lions are in the business of football, and that business has now expanded to include college football’s bowl season.
The Lions announced Tuesday a multiyear agreement with Ford Motor Company’s Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center designating Quick Lane as title sponsor for the annual bowl game held at Ford Field in Detroit.
The Lions are only the second NFL team (after the Houston Texans) to host and operate a college football bowl game.
The Quick Lane Bowl is scheduled for Dec. 26 at 4:30 p.m. and will air nationally on ESPN. The game will feature opponents from the Big 10 and ACC conferences.
“This has the potential to be in the winter what The Grand Prix is in the spring and summer,” Lions president Tom Lewand said. “It’s got a national draw. The television ratings have the potential to be larger than what they are for The Grand Prix, so the amount of eyeballs around the country that will be on Detroit in December that we can plan around are significant.”
Detroit isn’t necessarily a bowl destination in December, but the Lions and the city plan on embracing the winter atmosphere, much like the NFL did with the Super Bowl in 2006.
“There’s no question we celebrate winter around here,” Lewand said. “Last year we celebrated it a little too long, but we made due. I think the fact that we have a rich heritage of winter sports and winter activities, but more than that, we’ve got a tremendous amount of activities that go on throughout the calendar year.
“There is no shortage of activity, even if you never ventured outside for the three or four days people will be in town around the bowl game, but certainly there will be opportunities for both indoor and outdoor fun and we won’t shy away from it in the least.”
Tickets for the game will be available for purchase at 10 a.m, Thursday, Aug. 28 at quicklanebowl.com, the Ford Field box office (open Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.) or by calling 877.212.8898.
At the end of the college football season, officials from both conferences will meet with bowl officials to determine the best possible matchup and choose their team representatives. This is not a slotted finish bowl.
“I think this bowl game is the opportunity to plant a tree in the middle of the city every December that the nation can gather around when it comes to college football,” Lewand said. “Whether that’s on ESPN viewing the game or coming into town to be a part of it.
"It’s a testament to the considerable talents we have on staff we can take on such a challenge in the midst of a football season, but it’s because we built that capacity to host those other events (i.e. Super Bowl, Final Four, Frozen Four ect…), and do those things while football season is going on, that we can make Ford Field into a true community asset.”