| Arizona Stadium|
2015 – present
| Tucson, Arizona|
| Mountain West, Sun Belt|
The Arizona Bowl, officially the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl for sponsorship purposes, is a post-season college football bowl game certified by the NCAA that began play in the 2015 season. The game, which is held at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, is played between bowl-eligible teams from the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference.
The inaugural game was held on December 29, 2015, between the Nevada Wolf Pack and the Colorado State Rams. It was to be played between teams from Conference USA and the Mountain West, with the Sun Belt as a secondary tie-in. However, due to a lack of bowl-eligible Conference USA and Sun Belt teams to meet the tie-in, the game was ultimately played between Mountain West teams, marking the first time since 1979 that two teams from the same conference appeared in a non-championship bowl.
Arizona Bowl Wikipedia
Alongside the Austin Bowl and Cure Bowl, the Arizona Bowl was one of three new bowl games sanctioned by the NCAA to begin play in the 2015 season (although the Austin Bowl was delayed to 2016, before ultimately being delayed indefinitely due to a moratorium placed on new bowl games by the NCAA). In May 2015, it was reported that the game was to be held at Arizona Stadium, and feature participants from Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference. It marked a return of post-season college football to Tucson, Arizona, which previously hosted the Copper Bowl (the event now known as the Cactus Bowl).
The Arizona Bowl was officially announced on October 1, 2015 as the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl. Founded by the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission (ASEC), Alan Young, Kemp Ellis, Nikki Balich, the Mountain West Conference and Campus insiders in a joint venture, the inaugural game was scheduled to be held on December 29, 2015. It was also announced that the Sun Belt Conference would provide a secondary tie-in in case either conference does not have a bowl-eligible team to play the Arizona Bowl.
The inaugural game featured the Nevada Wolf Pack against the Colorado State Rams. As neither Conference USA or the Sun Belt had enough bowl-eligible teams that could be sent to the Arizona Bowl, the game was played between two Mountain West teams, marking the first time since the 1979 Orange Bowl that a non-championship bowl game was played between teams from the same conference. However, the two teams did not play each other in the season, and they are in opposite divisions.
In May 2016, it was announced that the Sun Belt had reached a four-year deal to serve as a primary tie-in for the Arizona Bowl through 2019, replacing Conference USA. It is the fifth bowl game in which the Sun Belt holds a primary tie-in.
Organizers stated that the Arizona Bowl would have a "digitally-focused" broadcasting strategy, first announcing that the website Campus Insiders (a joint venture of IMG College and Silver Chalice) would hold online streaming rights to the game as its "primary digital media partner". Campus Insiders, in turn, partnered with 120 Sports (a digital sports network that is a joint venture of Silver Chalice, MLB Advanced Media, and Time Inc.) to provide interactive in-game content, as well as pre-game, halftime, and post-game shows for the webcast.
Television rights to the game were sold in November 2015 to Sinclair Broadcast Group's American Sports Network; the telecast was syndicated to local broadcast television stations and regional sports networks. ASN will continue to hold rights for the 2016 game.