Aug. 31, 2011
HOUSTON - With the 2011 college football season set to kick off this weekend, officials from the University of Houston and Rice University announced today that the annual Bayou Bucket presented by State Farm will be played at Reliant Stadium beginning in 2012 with a two-year commitment to the neutral location.
This year's installment of the Bayou Bucket rivalry will be played on Thursday, October 27 at Robertson Stadium on the campus of the University of Houston. Rice will be the designated home team when the game moves to Reliant Stadium in 2012.
The date for the 2012 matchup will be determined at a later time. The game will be televised nationally on FOX Sports Network (FSN) in both 2012 and 2013. FSN is also the televising network for this year's game. FSN reaches over 85 million homes through two dozen owned and affiliated regional sports networks. Locally, it will be seen on FOX Sports Houston and on FOX Sports Southwest.
"We are energized by the plans both Lone Star Sports and Fox Sports Southwest have in mind to grow this great game into one of Houston's premiere sporting events," said Rice athletic director Rick Greenspan. "The passion that both teams bring to this game each year deserves to be showcased. I know our players love the opportunity to play at Reliant Stadium and fans of both schools will have great access to tickets to enjoy the action."
The Bayou Bucket is the trophy which is presented annually by the Touchdown Club of Houston to the winning school. Houston leads the all-time series 26-11, though Rice won last year's meeting, 34-31, on October 16 at Rice Stadium.
"We are very excited about this partnership with such first-class organizations as the Houston Texans and Lone Star Sports and Entertainment. We thank Mr. McNair and Jamey Rootes for this unique opportunity to take this rivalry to another level," said Houston athletic director Mack Rhoades. "Our team and our fans will be energized by playing in an elite NFL stadium. Moving this game to Reliant also allows us in the future to consistently have a minimum of seven games played in the City of Houston. We envision this rivalry extending beyond our fans to the entire city."
The 2012 game will be the first neutral-site game since 2004, when the teams opened the season against one another at Reliant Stadium. The series has been played annually since 1971 aside from a three-year hiatus from 1996-98 following the breakup of the Southwest Conference.
Lone Star Sports & Entertainment (LSSE), an affiliate of the Houston Texans, will manage the game at Reliant Stadium. LSSE also promotes and manages the annual "Battle of the Piney Woods" rivalry between Stephen F. Austin and Sam Houston as well as the Meineke Car Care Bowl of Texas.
"This is a wonderful opportunity to showcase Houston's premier college football rivalry in a world-class stadium," said Texans and LSSE president Jamey Rootes. "We look forward to working with these two great institutions to elevate the Bayou Bucket into a cherished tradition that our entire community will enjoy for years to come. Our city is home to the greatest football fans in the world and we looking forward to welcoming them to Reliant Stadium for the Bayou Bucket beginning next Fall."
"Moving the game to a major venue like Reliant Stadium is a tremendous opportunity to give this storied rivalry extensive national exposure," said FOX Sports Houston General Manager and General Sales Manager Steve McNair. "We plan on making the Bayou Bucket our signature event and series in Houston and raising its awareness beyond Texas on a national level."
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.