DALLAS, Texas – Zaxby’s and the Heart of Dallas Bowl announced today that the chicken fingers and wings restaurant chain will become the new title sponsor of the collegiate post-season game. Owned and operated by ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, the game will be called the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl and played on Friday, Dec. 26, at historic Cotton Bowl Stadium. The sponsorship will be for four years through the 2017 bowl game, with an option to extend for a longer period.

“We are delighted to join with an organization that is fully dedicated to supporting college football, and look forward to expanding the Zaxby’s brand across the nation with the title sponsorship of our bowl game,” said Brant Ringler, Executive Director of the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl. “It’s only fitting that the ‘Official Chicken of Sports Fanz’ will be on hand to enhance the experience of our participating teams and football fans that travel to Dallas.”

Zaxby’s offers prepared-at-order chicken fingers, wings, sandwiches and salads. Based in Athens, Ga., Zaxby’s is one of the nation’s fastest-growing restaurant chains, operating more than 640 stores in 15 states.

"To reinforce our brand as the Official Chicken of Sports Fanz and extend our reach as an emerging national concept, Zaxbys offers an Indescribably Good experience in our restaurants and on the field during the Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl," said Zach McLeroy, CEO and co-founder of Zaxby's. “We believe the sponsorship of a national bowl will allow our loyalists as well as our new fans to connect with us on an even bigger playing field.”

The fifth annual Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl will be on ESPN for the first time after playing on ESPNU the past four years. The radio broadcast will transmit nationwide through the Heart of Dallas Bowl Radio Network. The game will feature a team from Conference USA against a member of the Big Ten Conference. Last year’s contest saw the University of North Texas defeat UNLV 36-14.

The bowl will occur during the 85th 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 11 owned and operated bowl games by ESPN Events.


An alternative to fast food, Zaxby’s offers its guests prepared-at-order Chicken Fingerz, Traditional or Boneless Wings, sandwiches, Zalads and Zappetizers, along with a variety of nine sauces ranging from Wimpy and Tongue Torch to Nuclear and Insane. Childhood friends Zach McLeroy and Tony Townley hatched the Athens, Ga.-based chain in 1990 to provide a fun, relaxing atmosphere that would keep guests coming back for more. Consumers ranked Zaxby’s as the Most Craveable Fast Casual in America, in Technomic’s Consumer Brand Metrics program for 2013 and 2014, and QSR Magazine listed the  chain as one of the 12 Best Franchise Deals in 2013, as well as a Top 30 Best Fast Food Restaurant. In honor of the thousands of children the restaurant chain serves every year, Zaxby’s is a proud supporter of Make-A-Wish®. The company operates more than 640 locations in 15 states, including Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and  Virginia. For more information, please visit or follow on Twitter @Zaxbys.


ESPN Events, a subsidiary of ESPN, owns and operates a large portfolio of collegiate sporting events worldwide. The roster includes two Labor Day weekend college football games; 11 college bowl games and eight college basketball events, which accounts for approximately 200 hours of programming, reaches almost 64 million viewers and attracts over a half a million attendees each year. With satellite offices in Boca Raton, Boise, Birmingham, Dallas-Fort Worth, Albuquerque, St. Petersburg and Las Vegas, 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.


AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl (Houston); AdvoCare Texas Kickoff (Houston); Birmingham Bowl (Alabama); Bitcoin St. Petersburg Bowl (Florida); Boca Raton Bowl (Florida); Famous Idaho Potato Bowl (Boise); Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Albuquerque); Hawai’i Bowl (Honolulu); Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl (Dallas- Fort Worth); Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl (Dallas-Fort Worth); MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney (Orlando, Fla.); Raycom Media Camellia Bowl (Montgomery, Ala.); Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (Nevada) and The Home Depot College Football Awards (Orlando, Fla.)


Armed Forces Classic (U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Borinquen, PR); DIRECTV Wooden Legacy (Orange County, Calif.); Gildan Charleston Classic (South Carolina); Hawaiian Airlines Diamond Head Classic (Honolulu); Jimmy V Men’s & Women’s Basketball Classics Presented by Corona (New York City & Notre Dame, Ind.); Orlando Classic (Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.); Puerto Rico Tip-Off (San Juan, PR) and State Farm Champions Classic (Indianapolis)

For more information, visit or follow on Twitter and Facebook.


Bryan Delgado,
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas
Bowl at 817-810-0266 or
[email protected];

Rachel Margolis Siegal,
ESPN at 860-766-2798 or
[email protected];

Kami Wood,
Zaxby’s at 706-433-2242 or
[email protected]

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