EDITOR’S NOTE: John Thomas Grant, Jr. was named executive director of the Celebration Bowl, Atlanta’s newest college football postseason game owned and operated by ESPN Events, in August 2015. Having worked in the Atlanta market for over three decades, Grant joins ESPN from 100 Black Men of Atlanta (100), where he was the chief executive officer.
This year’s Cricket MEAC/SWAC Challenge Kickoff was historic for HBCUs and HBCU football.
The commitment by ESPN to showcase the opening of college football in Week 0 with the North Carolina Central-Alcorn State game is at the core of ESPN’s storytelling mission.
It was an education to millions of viewers about the value and richness of HBCUs, their culture, and their impact on the nation through education and sports.
We are proud of the decision the company made to feature a key event that it has owned and operated for 16 years. The number of stories told across The Undefeated, ABC/Good Morning America, First Take, College Football Live, College GameDay Built by The Home Depot, and within the game itself on ESPN, exemplified the limitless range of content available to us.
The Cricket Celebration Bowl – the HBCU national championship game played in December on ABC – provides a fitting close to the HBCU college football season.
You can’t truly understand anything until you experience it.
I encourage everyone to get out to an HBCU game this season.
Try it, you’ll love it!
Spencer Jackson produced the video. Scott Clarke shot the photos.