In the second edition of Grambling State University vs. North Carolina A&T State University in the kickoff to the 2017 college football bowl season, the Mercedes-Benz Stadium was draped in blue and gold as the Aggies defeated the Tigers 21-14 in the third annual Celebration Bowl in Atlanta.
Here are significant numbers to know (or to guess) from the black college football national championship.
The amount of recap coverage (as of this publishing) on NCAA.com about the Celebration Bowl, which pitted two Division I conference champions, both ranked in the top-25 of the FCS polls competing in a nationally-televised game.
Over its three-year history, the Celebration Bowl has not publicized an economic impact study, which beyond the $2 million ESPN pays to both conferences to participate in the game would likely be a significant addition to Atlanta’s standing as a premier bowl game hosting destination. In 2016, the Peach Bowl generated just under $42 million dollars in economic impact.
Weeks after the release of the United Negro College Fund’s study, which has already been countered by one institution and likely others for its partial reporting of HBCU influence on economy and industry, HBCU economic impact will likely become a key indicator of HBCU strength for corporate investment and public funding in years to come.
ESPN debuted its referee camera angle during the Celebration Bowl, which didn’t go over well with the Twittersphere’s viewing audience.
The Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference now claims two of the first three HBCU football national championships determined in the Celebration Bowl, which in 2015 was established as a branding and financial alternative for the MEAC early round playoff exits, and branding boost for the Southwestern Athletic Conference, which long had substituted postseason participation for its conference football championship.
The average margin of victory in the Celebration Bowl in its three years, making the contest among the most competitive and entertaining contests of the bowl game season, despite Grambling and North Carolina A&T emerging as near constant champions in its short history.
The Aggies finished the 2017 season undefeated, a historic first for a Division I historically black college. From the NCAT official game recap.
N.C. A&T is the first-ever Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference school to finish the entire season undefeated. They are the first Division I-AA black college football team to finish a season unbeaten and untied and they broke the school and conference record for wins with 12.
That’s the total combined record for North Carolina A&T head coach Rod Broadway and Grambling State head coach Broderick Fobbs, who both could be targeted this off-season for more lucrative opportunities with non-HBCU programs, like 2016 Celebration Bowl runner-up and North Carolina Central University head coach Jerry Mack.
But the MEAC press release notes more than 25,000 attendees at the game,
the Celebration Bowl Wikipedia page reports a 12,750 statistic,
and the NCAA has not yet updated attendance statistics for the game.