FIU Selected for 2011 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla.  – FIU, led by explosive playmaker T.Y. Hilton, will be making its second-ever bowl appearance in school history after accepting a bid to the 2011 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg.  The Panthers will face a team to be determined from Conference USA in the fourth edition of the ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, owned bowl gamefrom Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 8p.m. ET on ESPN.

The Panthers, from the Sun Belt Conference, filled a slot for the BIG EAST, which didn’t have enough teams to fulfill its bowl commitments. FIU, which fielded its first-ever team in 2002, posted a school-record eight wins in 2011, including a road victory over BIG EAST co-champions Louisville.

“FIU brings one of the top young coaches in Mario Cristobal with very talented playmakers and an extremely enthusiastic fan base,” said Brett Dulaney, Executive Director of the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg. “It is very impressive to see a program that is only in its 10th season of playing football accomplishing so much success on the football field. I also want to recognize their passionate fans who let us know how excited they would be to come to St. Petersburg with hundreds of posts on our social media pages.”

FIU (8-4, 5-3) enters the contest on a three-game winning streak and has won four of its last five games.  In 2010 the Panthers defeated Toledo, 34-32, in its inaugural bowl game at the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan.

“We are very honored to be invited to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg,” said Pete Garcia, Executive Director of Sports and Entertainment for FIU. “I am excited for both our team and our fans. This will give our fans an opportunity to watch their football team finish off a great season.”

“On behalf of our great university, it is with great excitement that our football program accepts this bid to the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl,” said FIU Head Coach Mario Cristobal.  “2011 has been another historical season for our program, and playing in a bowl right here in our home state is a tremendous opportunity for our student athletes and fans.”

Hilton, a senior wide receiver, paced the offense with 64 receptions for 950 yards and seven touchdowns this season. Sophomore running back Kedrick Rhodes became just the second Panther and the first in FIU’s FBS history to reach 1,000 rushing yards in a single season with 1,121 rushing yards and eight touchdowns in 2011.

Tickets for the 2011 Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg are on sale now and start as low as just $35. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster atwww.ticketmaster.comor by phone at 1-800-745-3000. The fourth edition of the ESPN Regional Television (ERT), a subsidiary of ESPN, owned bowl game features a BIG EAST Conference team against a representative from Conference USA at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Tuesday, Dec. 20, at 8 p.m. on ESPN.

Fans can enjoy the pregame pageantry in the Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl Bud Light Lounge, the only on-field hospitality village in all of professional or college football. Fans can sit right behind the team bench and hear all of the hard- hitting action. It will be the only Beef ‘O’ Brady’s location where you can literally be in the huddle and still enjoy all the food and beverage any fan would want. For tickets in the Bud Light Lounge, fans may contact Carlos Padilla at 727-290-9865 for more information.

About Beef ‘O’ Brady’s
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is a fast-growing national chain of family sports pubs that achieves its success by building relationships with the local schools, youth sports leagues, and other community organizations in each and every Beef ‘O’ Brady’s neighborhood market. The “kid appeal” of this unique concept is reinforced by a very moderately priced kids menu and video games. Ironically, despite what the name implies, Beef ‘O’ Brady’s is actually best known for its Buffalo-style chicken wings. Beef ‘O’ Brady’s has more than 260 open restaurants throughout the Southeast and the Midwest. Visitwww.beefobradys.comfor more information.

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 forESPNU; 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
Beef ‘O’ Brady’s Bowl St. Petersburg;Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl(Dallas-Fort Worth);BBVA Compass Bowl(Birmingham, Ala.);MAACO Bowl Las Vegas;Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque);Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl(Honolulu);Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas(Houston);MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney(Orlando, Fla.) andThe Home Depot ESPNU College Football Awards
Collegiate Basketball
76 Classic(Anaheim, Calif.);State Farm Champions Classic(Madison Square Garden; debuts 2011);DIRECTV Charleston Classic presented by Foster Grant(S.C.);Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic(Honolulu);Old Spice Classic(Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.);5-hour ENERGY Puerto Rico Tip-Off(San Juan);All-College Basketball Classic(Oklahoma City) andSears BracketBusters
Collegiate Lacrosse
ESPNU Warrior Classic
Additional Events
Hawaiian Islands Invitational(Soccer) andESPN National Golf Challenge

For more information, visitESPNPlus.com.

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Media Contacts:
Jeffrey Kamis, Trifecta Team, jeff@trifectateam.comor 813-784-3642
Rachel Margolis, ESPN at rachel.l.margolis@espn.comor 860-766-2798


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