Seventh Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl to be Played on Dec. 27th | Heart of Dallas

Seventh Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl to be Played on Dec. 27th

May 4, 2016

DALLAS – The seventh annual Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl will be played on Tuesday, Dec. 27, at the historic Cotton Bowl Stadium on the grounds of Fair Park. This year's Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl featuring teams Conference USA and the Big Ten is slated to kick off at 11 a.m. CT (noon ET), and televised nationally on ESPN.

The Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl is being aired on ESPN for the third consecutive year after being carried by ESPNU for the first four years of the event.

"With two fantastic conferences in the Big Ten and Conference USA, we're primed for another great showdown in one of the great venues in college football history," said Brant Ringler, Executive Director of the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. "We're so proud to continue our initiative thanking all First Responders, which would not be possible without the unwavering support of our title sponsor Zaxby's. Hosting these brave men and women is a special privilege for all of those involved."

The Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl is the first bowl game in the country to honor First Responders. Groups to be honored during the game include firefighters, police and EMS personnel. Tributes are taking place each quarter and presentations throughout the event. The pre-game fan fest also brings together first responder groups from all over North Texas, with a tailgate outside Cotton Bowl Stadium, showcasing hardware from participating units and community organizations.

Conference USA will be seeking its fourth Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl win and third in the last four years. C-USA had a two-game winning streak snapped as Southern Miss dropped a hard-fought 44-31 affair to Washington on Dec. 26, 2015.

C-USA is 3-1 all-time in the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl, with Houston, North Texas and Louisiana Tech previously picking up victories. C-USA is tied to the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl through the 2019 season.

The Big Ten is headed to the Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl for the fifth time in seven years. The conference was represented by Northwestern, Penn State and Purdue, respectively, in the first three bowl games. Illinois took the Big Ten banner into Cotton Bowl Stadium following the 2014 season. 

The 2016 Heart of Dallas Bowl is part of the 87th year of games being played at Cotton Bowl Stadium on the grounds of Fair Park, which features 227 acres of museums, attractions, history, art and performances located in the "heart" of the ninth largest city in the United States.

The Heart of Dallas Bowl is one of 13 owned and operated bowl games by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN.

Enjoying great chicken in an atmosphere where you could be yourself? That’s what childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley wanted to achieve when they founded Zaxby’s back in the 1990s. Many years and locations later, Zaxby’s is still delivering on that promise: to serve delicious chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads in a fun, offbeat atmosphere where we welcome customers as friends. As of April 2016, Zaxby’s has grown to more than 700 locations in 16 states and is headquartered in Athens, Georgia. For more information, visit or

ESPN Events
ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes three Labor Day weekend college football games; 13 college bowl games, 10 college basketball events and two college award shows, which accounts for approximately 250-plus hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over 700,000 attendees each year. With satellite offices in Albuquerque, Birmingham, Boca Raton, Boise, Dallas-Fort Worth, Honolulu, Las Vegas, Montgomery and St. Petersburg, ESPN Events builds relationships with conferences, schools and local communities, as well as providing unique experiences for teams and fans.

ESPN Events also manages the Big 12 Corporate Partner Program.

Collegiate Football
AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl (Atlanta); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Camping World Kickoff (Orlando, Fla.); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); Marmot Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); MEAC/SWAC Challenge (Orlando, Fla.); Popeyes Bahamas Bowl (Nassau); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); The Home Depot College Football Awards (Atlanta) and Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth)

Collegiate Basketball

AdvoCare Invitational (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Armed Forces Classic (Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Honolulu); DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.); College Basketball Awards Presented by Wendy’s (Los Angeles); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s  Classic presented by Corona (New York City); Jimmy V Women’s Classic presented by Corona (TBD); NIT Season Tip-Off (Brooklyn, N.Y.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan) and State Farm Champions Classic (New York City)

For more information, visit the official website, Facebook, Twitter or YouTube pages.


ESPN Media Contact: Art Garcia at 817-797-8379; or, Bryan Delgado at 817-810-0266 or; Rachel Margolis Siegal at 860-766-2798 or