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ESPN Announces Oklahoma State-Mississippi State Football Game at Reliant Stadium in 2013

Houston Joins Atlanta and Dallas in Staging Labor Day Events

ESPN announced the creation of the Texas Kickoff Classic – an opening weekend college football game between Oklahoma State and Mississippi State at Reliant Stadium in Houston to be played Saturday, Aug. 31, 2013. Tickets for the game will go on sale later this fall.

The game is owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, and will be managed in partnership with Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE), an event-management affiliate of the NFL’s Houston Texans.

LSSE also operates the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, which has averaged more than 63,000 fans over the last six years, and has brought other matchups such as the 2005 Big XII Championship Game, Rice vs. Texas in 2010 and annual rivalries like the Bayou Bucket (Rice vs. Houston) and Battle of the Piney Woods (Stephen F. Austin vs. Sam Houston) to Reliant Stadium.

“Our organization is committed to growing the game of football at all levels and doing great things for Houston. This game and this Labor Day series concept is another way for us to simultaneously do both,” said Jamey Rootes, Houston Texans and Lone Star Sports & Entertainment President. “Along with our Board and ESPN, we’ve built the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas into one of the best-attended bowls in America, and hosting these two outstanding football programs at Reliant Stadium will serve as a tremendous bookend for the 2013 college football season in Houston.”

Oklahoma State, winners of the 2012 Tostitos Fiesta Bowl, will be playing in Houston for the first time since September 23, 2006 when the Cowboys played at the University of Houston. This will be OSU’s second game at Reliant Stadium, as the Cowboys won the 2002 Houston Bowl over Southern Mississippi.

“We’re excited to open the season in Houston,” said Mike Holder, OSU Director of Athletics. “We have a growing number of Texans attending Oklahoma State and a large alumni base in the area. We will be playing a high-profile season opener in a great stadium. I think our fans will be eager for this matchup all summer.”

Mississippi State, No. 20 in the current Associated Press poll, won the 2012 Music City Bowl to record consecutive winning seasons for the first time since 1997-2000. The Bulldogs last played in Houston on October 9, 2009 at the University of Houston. MSU has never played in Reliant Stadium.

“This is a great opportunity for our team to open the 2013 season in an NFL stadium,” said Scott Stricklin, Mississippi State Director of Athletics. “It provides our fans a unique destination for the season opener. We have a great fan base in Texas, as well, who will be excited to see the Bulldogs play in their home state.”

Oklahoma State and Mississippi State have met four times, most recently a 29-11 Bulldogs victory in Starkville, Miss., on September 18, 1999.

“We are excited to work with the Texans and Lone Star Sports and Entertainment to bring a Labor Day weekend football game to the city of Houston,” said Pete Derzis, Sr. Vice President and General Manager of ESPN Regional Television. “A game of this caliber serves as a great complement to our postseason college football bowl game played at Reliant Stadium.”

Oklahoma State will serve as the home team in the 2013 game.

ESPN Regional Television/Event Ownership

The nation’s largest syndicator of collegiate sports programming, ESPN Regional Television (ERT) annually produces more than 1,200 sporting events. Content includes action from NCAA football, basketball and Olympic sports, NHRA and professional and amateur golf, accounting for more than 3,400 live and/or original hours of programming. ERT’s owned and operated events reach over a million fans a year and provides more than 200 additional hours of programming.

In addition to event ownership, ERT is the production headquarters for ESPNU; syndication rights-holder and producer of national, regional and local shows for college conferences (SEC, BIG EAST, Big 12, Mid-American, WAC) and manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

ESPN Regional Television markets and/or owns several sporting events:

Collegiate Football

BBVA Compass Bowl (Birmingham, Ala.); Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg; Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MAACO Bowl Las Vegas; Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas (Houston); Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu) and The Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards

Collegiate Basketball

Anaheim Classic (Anaheim, Calif.); Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant (S.C.); Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Classic (Madison Square Garden); Old Spice Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan); Sears BracketBusters and State Farm Champions Classic (Georgia Dome, Atlanta)

Collegiate Lacrosse

ESPNU Warrior Classic

Additional Events

Hawaiian Islands Invitational (Soccer) and ESPN National Golf Challenge

About the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas

The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas has been a tremendous success both on and off the field over its first five years. The bowl has generated an average of $29 million per year for the Houston economy and has over 25,000 season ticket holders. The game has averaged more than 63,000 fans in its six-year history, including a crowd of 68,395 for last year’s game between Texas A&M and Northwestern. The Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas has donated nearly $500,000 to date and more than $10 million in promotional support and publicity to DePelchin Children’s Center, the bowl’s official charitable beneficiary.

About Lone Star Sports & Entertainment

Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE) is an independent event management company which is closely affiliated with the NFL’s Houston Texans. Since being founded in 2003, LSSE has established itself as the leading sports event promoter in Houston. In addition to the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas, LSSE has emerged as a premier promoter for international soccer matches, including the 2010 MLS All-Star Game featuring Manchester United, the 2006 FC Barcelona U.S. tour, 2003 and 2008 matches between the United States and Mexico, and the 2005, 2007, 2009 and 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cups. LSSE has also reinvigorated the “Battle of the Piney Woods” rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston State and has promoted a pair of major concerts featuring country superstars George Strait and Kenny Chesney.

CONTACTS

Zac Emmons, Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas – (832) 667-2220
Rachel Margolis, ESPN Regional Television – (860) 766-2798

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