ATLANTA – ESPN has chosen to make the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game its prime time ABC national broadcast on the opening weekend of the 2009 college football season Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN officials announced today.
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, a Chick-fil-A Bowl event, will match projected preseason top-10-ranked powers Alabama and Virginia Tech on Sept. 5 at 8 p.m. (EDT) in the Georgia Dome.
“When you can match two top-10 teams in the first week, it really does start to look like a BCS-style game to open the season,” said Gary Stokan, Chick-fil-A Bowl president and CEO. “We think the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game is the biggest game out there and we’re proud of our partnership with ESPN and that ABC will be broadcasting the game in its prime time slot.”
Last year’s season-opening Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game featured No. 9 Clemson against No. 24 Alabama in a sold-out game that was also nationally broadcast by ABC. The match-up of two top-25 teams drew on-site appearances by ESPN’s College GameDay and College Football Live! shows and delivered more than 22,000 fans for a pre-game fan experience in Atlanta’s Centennial Olympic Park.
The 2008 Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game broadcast window delivered a television rating of 3.6, equaling more than four million viewing households.
“After a fabulous inaugural Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game we’re excited to be back in the great city of Atlanta for the start of the fourth season of Saturday Night Football on ABC,” said Dave Brown, ESPN vice president, programming and acquisitions. “With a match-up of two teams expected to be in the pre-season top 10, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game has quickly developed into a cornerstone of the opening weekend of college football. We thank the Chick fil-A Bowl and Chick-fil-A and especially Virginia Tech and Alabama for making the game possible and we look forward to a great game.”
The Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game – billed as the “Daytona 500 of college football” – was created by the Chick-fil-A Bowl and ESPN, as a BCS-type game to kick off the season matching two elite football programs on the first Saturday of every season.
Alabama defeated Clemson in the inaugural Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game 34-10, using the game to help propel them to a No. 1 national ranking and an eventual BCS bowl berth.
For updates on Virginia Tech football, follow the Hokies on Twitter (@VT_Football).