Disney-sponsored game brings thousands of fans to Orlando

MEAC/SWAC Challenge has positive economic impact on Central Florida

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Sept. 1 – Nearly 25,000 fans attended the ninth annual MEAC/SWAC Challenge presented by Disney at the Florida Citrus Bowl over the Labor Day weekend.

The match-up between teams from the Mid-Eastern and Southwestern Athletic Conferences was televised live on ESPN, with a victory for the Florida A&M Rattlers over the Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils.

For the past six years, the MEAC/SWAC Challenge has resulted in a positive economic impact on Central Florida by bringing thousands of fans to the region.

“We’re proud to build on our long history of supporting the African-American community by sponsoring the MEAC/SWAC Challenge,” said Belinda Frazier, manager of minority business development for Walt Disney World Resort. ”The MEAC/SWAC Challenge underscores the importance of diversity and education and shines a national spotlight on Central Florida, the Florida Citrus Bowl and Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

The four-day event combined entertainment and education and culminated in a football game between two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The celebration began Aug. 29 with the ESPN 101 high school career panel. Other activities included a pep rally at Downtown Disney and a performance by the FAMU and MVSU bands at Epcot. HBCU alumni who have made outstanding contributions in sports, business or philanthropy were honored on Saturday at the MEAC/SWAC Legends Reception.

“This was a one of a kind experience that our student-athletes will remember for a lifetime, said MVSU head coach Karl Morgan. “Disney’s commitment to the HBCUs will have a positive impact on these young men for years to come.”

The game also marked the return of the FAMU marching band.

“This was an outstanding opportunity provided to FAMU by Disney and ESPN,” said Dr. Larry Robinson, interim president of FAMU. “We have worked very hard to execute a safe and spirited return of the FAMU Marching ’100′.”