NICK CARPARELLI NAMED FOOTBALL BOWL ASSOCIATION EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, SUCCEEDING RETIRING WRIGHT WATERS IN APRIL 2020
New Leader of College Football Postseason Bowl Games Brings Two Decades of Executive Level Experience to the Position
SCOTTSDALE, AZ – Nick Carparelli, longtime football administrator and sports executive, has been named the Executive Director of the Football Bowl Association. He will officially succeed Wright Waters upon his retirement in April but will begin in a transition role in January of 2020.
“Nick is a skilled consensus-builder and excellent communicator, bringing significant relationships with our numerous stakeholders and in-depth knowledge of college football. Bowl games are a unique tradition in sports that have deep community impact in the cities they’re played. Nick will bring the bowls together and push us forward collectively,” said Mike Nealy, Football Bowl Association Chair and Executive Director of the PlayStation® Fiesta Bowl and Cheez-It® Bowl. “Wright Waters has elevated the FBA’s stature since he took over in 2012, being the ultimate leader and helping the bowl games reach new heights.”
Widely respected in college football, Carparelli most recently served as Senior Director of College Sports Marketing at Under Armour where he created strategic marketing plans for their collegiate partnerships. He was responsible for tripling the size of their collegiate partner portfolio including the acquisition of high profile schools such as Wisconsin and UCLA, the largest apparel and footwear deal in college sports history.
Prior to joining Under Armour, Carparelli worked as Senior Associate Commissioner for the BIG EAST and American Athletic Conferences where he served as the primary football administrator overseeing operations, officiating, bowl relationships, television and scheduling. In addition, he served as Chair of the NCAA Football Issues Committee and its postseason bowl licensing subcommittee. He also served as co-coordinator for the Bowl Championship Series during the 2002 and 2003 seasons.
Before the BIG EAST, Carparelli served as Director of Operations for the New England Patriots during their first Super Bowl Championship season. He also worked as a football administrator at both the University of Notre Dame and Syracuse University.
As FBA Executive director, Carparelli will lead the operations and direction for the organization that will grow to 43 postseason college football games starting with the 2020-21 season. He will be charged with effectively advancing the FBA’s mission and position, supporting bowl game membership, developing new revenue streams, and enhancing industry relationships with the NCAA, conference commissioners, athletic directors, College Football Playoff and bowl staffs.
“College football bowl games are truly one of the great traditions of American sports and I am both humbled and proud to have this opportunity to represent them.” said Carparelli. “I wish to personally thank Mike Nealy and the FBA leadership committee for their faith and confidence in me. I look forward to working with all our bowl executive directors in advocating for the bowl system and the positive experiences they provide for the student-athletes as well as the many host communities across the country.”
College football’s fan base grew by 1.4 million people in 2017 and the combined TV viewership for all bowl games in 2018-19 reached 205 million. The first bowl game was played in 1902, and when the new bowl cycle begins in the 2020-21 season there will be 43 postseason bowl games with the addition of three new host cities.
“I am delighted Nick will be following me as Executive Director. I’ve known Nick for 20 years and have always admired his work and understanding of intercollegiate athletics,” Waters said. “The FBA has a bright future under his guidance, and I trust the membership will show him the same support I have enjoyed.”
Hired in 2012 as the first full-time FBA Executive Director, Waters has built the FBA into one of college football’s most trusted voices. During his tenure, FBA games have helped local communities generate more than $1.5 billion dollars annually in economic impact for the 33 cites/counties where the games are played, based on a study by San Diego State University and George Washington University.
Eight new bowl games became FBA members over the last seven years and college football bowl game television ratings are higher than the regular season of any sport, aside from the National Football League.
The annual FBA convention expanded greatly under Waters, becoming a national stop for the bowl membership, college football industry, vendors and television partners. This year, in conjunction with College Football’s 150th Anniversary, Waters spearheaded a promotional campaign for the FBA to recognize the importance and historic moments that bowl games have played in the elevation of college football.
Prior to the FBA, Waters spent 14 years as commissioner of the Sun Belt Conference and 40 years within college athletics. His stops included associate commissioner and commissioner duties with the Southern Conference (1988-98) as well as administrative roles at Tulane (1984-88), Southwest Louisiana (1983-84), University of Florida (1979-83) and Southern Mississippi (1976-79), giving him a unique perspective on the relationships between schools, conferences and television networks.
In his time leading the Sun Belt, the conference became a Bowl Championship Series conference, gained a permanent seat on the NCAA Board of Directors and helped found the New Orleans Bowl in 2000.
A Montgomery, AL native, Waters was presented with the National Football Foundation’s Legacy Award for lifetime achievement in November 2011 and inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in 2013.
The 2019-20 FBA Executive Committee includes Nealy, Allstate Sugar Bowl CEO Jeff Hundley, Walk-On’s Independence Bowl Executive Director Missy Setters, San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl Executive Director Mark Neville, Academy Sports + Outdoors Texas Bowl Executive Director David Fletcher, Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Executive Director Kevin McDonald, ESPN Senior Vice President of College Sports Programming and Events Pete Derzis, Capital One Orange Bowl CEO Eric Poms and Executive Director of the Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl Bernie Olivas.