North Texas might have just one more shot at filling up the Cotton Bowl during bowl season. (The great) Robert Wilonsky reports that the city council is leaning toward ‘no’ on a $300K incentive package that would keep the bowl at Fair Park beyond this year’s game.
Previously, the council denied an $800K package. The HOD Bowl is an ESPN Bowl, so that TV time slot will likely be taken up by some other bowl — Austin as the report suggests.
For North Texas and the rest of the league, this is not a huge deal. The matchups were never great but it was an easy commute. North Texas fans have yet to show they will travel beyond the DFW area in droves, and so the two HOD Bowl games since 2013 were nice shows of attendance that the New Orleans Bowl was not.
For the league, this is a blow but if it is replaced by another bowl within the state it works out. UTSA, UNT, UTEP, and Louisiana Tech might appreciate a (relatively) close game in a cool city. East division teams will still prefer an easier travel location.
As for the bowl itself, it always seemed like the move to the day after Christmas did more harm than anything else. Playing on New Year’s Day gave the minor-bowl something else to sell, even as it was a bit of a cheeky thing to do. Saying North Texas won on New Year’s Day at the Cotton Bowl was always a perk of the 2013 version of this game.