Feb. 20, 2002
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. -
The Mountain West Conference has renewed its contract with the AXA Liberty Bowl. The MWC will continue to send its champion to Memphis for the next three seasons (2002, 2003, 2004).
"The relationship with the AXA Liberty Bowl has been very important to the development of football in the Mountain West Conference," said Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson. "The annual opportunity for two Top 25 teams to meet in the bowl has given us great latitude and advantages in regular-season scheduling. The rich tradition of the bowl makes it a most appealing destination for our champion."
The champion of the Mountain West Conference will play against the champion of Conference USA, making the AXA Liberty Bowl the only non-BCS bowl game to feature conference champions.
"Our mission is to showcase Memphis and St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to the entire country," said AXA Liberty Bowl Executive Director Steve Ehrhart. "The best way to achieve that is to have nationally ranked conference champions compete in the AXA Liberty Bowl."
"The Mountain West features some of the most entertaining and elite football programs in the country and we're pleased to show fans from the western part of the U.S. what Memphis has to offer," added Ehrhart.
"By continuing our partnership with the Mountain West, the AXA Liberty Bowl is able to feature teams that win their way to Memphis each year. The AXA Liberty Bowl is about winners and we're excited to continue that tradition," said Ehrhart.
Since partnering with the MWC prior to the 1999 season, attendance at the AXA Liberty Bowl has increased 13 percent over the three-year period.
The Mountain West Conference boasts a 6-3 bowl record through its first three seasons. Its bowl winning percentage of .667 ranks as the third highest in the nation since 1999. The MWC has sent three teams onto the post-season each of its three years, with five of the eight member institutions playing in bowl games.