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Walt Disney World Assumes Sponsorship of MEAC-SWAC Challenge
Disney talks the business decision they made in regards to sponsoring the MEAC/SWAC challenge and dropping sponsorship of the Florida Classic.
Disney has completed the swap of one football game between historically black colleges for another with the announcement that it will serve as a presenting sponsor of the MEAC-SWAC Challenge. After cutting loose the Florida Classic, the annual showdown between Florida A&M and Bethune-Cookman, Disney has switched to the new game, which just happens to be owned by ESPN Regional Television. This year, ESPN has moved the game from Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama to Orlando’s Citrus Bowl so that Disney can be the sponsor.
The MEAC-SWAC Challenge takes place between representatives of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) and Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC), two HBCU (Historically Black College/University) leagues. The fourth edition of the game will take place at 2 p.m. on Sunday, August 31, between the MEAC’s Hampton University and the SWAC’s Jackson State University.
While continuing its commitment to hosting a game between two HBCU teams, by switching from the Florida Classic to the MEAC-SWAC Challenge, Disney has taken the lead in bringing teams from elsewhere in the U.S. to the Orlando area. This will bring more tourism dollars into the area (and likely to Walt Disney World) for two reasons. First, the Bethune-Cookman teams from Daytona Beach and the Florida A&M teams from Tallahassee were likely to spend less time at an in-state tourism location (not to mention the fact that the Florida Classic will continue in Orlando with State Farm as the sponsor), while MEAC-SWAC teams from further away would likely stretch their travel an extra day or two. Second, since the MEAC-SWAC representative teams will be rotated each year, teams that travel to the game once every few years or so are also more likely to turn the trips into vacations—likely bringing more family members—than the Florida Classic teams, which return every year. Besides, Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M could both appear in the new game, as well, as are both MEAC schools.
“We are excited to be a sponsor of this game that will bring a new event to the Florida Citrus Bowl and have a positive economic impact on Central Florida,” said Eugene Campbell, Vice President of Community Relations and Minority Business Development for Walt Disney World Resort. “We have a long history of supporting the African-American community and we’re proud to build on this legacy by supporting the 25 historically black colleges and universities in the Mid-Eastern and Southwestern Athletic Conferences.”
Walt Disney World assumes sponsorship of MEAC-SWAC Challenge
Mark Goldhaber, Mouse Planet