NEW ORLEANS –The Bayou Classic returns to New Orleans for its 45th year with its series of fan and family-friendly events throughout the Thanksgiving holiday and weekend. Each year, this weekend of events brings together family, friends and alumni of Southern University and Grambling State University to see one of America’s greatest college sports rivalries and celebrate football, family and the traditions surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities.
“What we want everyone to hear as we go into this week-long schedule of events is – ONE ROAR. We welcome fans, families, alumni and visitors to experience the best of the classics at this year’s 45th anniversary celebration of the Number One HBCU Classic in the nation,” says Dottie Belletto, President and CEO of New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. (NOCCI), the management firm of the Bayou Classic.
HIGHLIGHTS IN 2018
SWAC West divisional champion: Alcorn State, Jackson State, Grambling State, and Southern University are the four remaining teams in the Southwestern Athletic Conference still eligible to win a league championship and secure a spot in the Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in Atlanta on Dec. 15. Grambling (6-4, 4-2 SWAC) will face Southern (6-3, 5-1 SWAC) in a contest that will declare the SWAC West divisional champion. The winner of this year’s Bayou Classic will advance to the SWAC championship game to be played December 1 on the campus of the SWAC institution with the highest ranking.
Celebrity Guest JB Smoove: Comedian and actor J.B. Smoove will be in attendance at this year’s Bayou Classic. Smoove is an American actor, writer, comedian, and voice actor. Starting his career off with the television series Def Comedy Jam in 1995, he is best known for his role as Leon on the HBO series Curb Your Enthusiasm. He also starred on the CBS sitcom The Millers. He most recently portrayed a fictionalized version of himself on the BET improv-comedy reality television parody Real Husbands of Hollywood. Smoove will be part of many events throughout the weekend including doing a comedy skit at the Bayou Classic Greek Show & Battle of the Bands and attending the Bayou Classic Fan Festival.
World Record at Battle of the Bands: BET Networks, in partnering with the Bayou Classic along with National Artist Development Group, will coordinate the execution of the World’s Largest HBCU Soul Train dance line at Battle of the Bands in cooperation with the students and bands of Grambling and Southern Universities and the Bayou Classic. The Soul Train will be documented for the Guinness World Records organization.
Bayou Classic Halftime Show: This year’s Bayou Classic Halftime Show is presented by Procter & Gambel/Crest. This always electrifying performance is one of the highlights of the weekend each year and the presenting sponsor is bringing special surprises to this year’s performance.
Economic impact: Bayou Classic provides a $50 million economic impact to the City of New Orleans.
Visitors to New Orleans: Bayou Classic brings more than 200,000 visitors to New Orleans annually.
Hotel occupancy: Bayou Classic annually delivers a total citywide occupancy of more than 90 percent.
Ticket sales: Ticket sales for the 45th Annual Bayou Classic to date are higher than final totals of last year’s ticket sales.
Bayou Classic rankings: The Grambling State University Tigers lead the series with 23 wins
to Southern University Jaguars 21 wins in the Bayou Classic.
Bayou Classic Telecast: The 45th Annual Bayou Classic will be televised live on NBC Sports Network starting at 4 pm CST on Saturday, November 24. The Bayou Classic has been nationally televised since 1991.
SCHEDULE OF EVENTS
Friday, November 23
Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge: 11:00 am
Presented by GE in partnership with NexusLA
Hyatt Regency New Orleans
Honoring Bayou Classic’s commitment to technology, the Bayou Classic BizTech Challenge is back for the third year in a row. Out of 14 registered teams from three Historically Black Colleges and Universities, five finalists will present their comprehensive business plans on Friday at 1:00 pm. The winning team, selected by a panel of expert judges will be presented with a cash prize of $10,000 before the Bayou Classic kicks-off on the field of the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
Battle of the Bands and Greek Show: 7:00 pm, doors open at 6:00 pm
Greek Show presented by Be the Match; Battle of the Bands presented by USMC
Approximately 25,000 people will be at the show, as the Southern and Grambling’s historic marching bands strut across the Superdome in a colorful showdown that is the highlight of The Bayou Classic weekend for many attendees. In addition, the Greek show will feature creative skits from traditionally black Greek organizations across Louisiana.
Again this year, fans’ votes will play a role in scoring the Greek Show teams, with the results being displayed live. Fans can vote for their favorite performance via the Bayou Classic App.
The Battle of the Bands will also have a special appearances by the US Marine Corps Band and a special skit by comedian and actor J.B. Smoove.
The Battle of the Bands will conclude this year with BET Networks coordinating the execution of the World’s Largest HBCU Soul Train dance line documenting it for the Guinness World Records organization.
Saturday, November 24
Doc Grigg’s 2x Around the Dome: 8:00 am
The Doc Griggs 2X’s Around the Dome Family Fitness Fun Walk encourages the community to “Get Checked. Get Fit. Get Moving!” by walking twice around the Mercedes-Benz Superdome while showcasing historical landmarks in New Orleans. The event demonstrates to more than 500 attendees that exercise can be fun while highlighting the importance of health, fitness and wellness through a variety of exercises such as Zumba, Hula Hooping, Second Line Dancing instruction and bicycling.
Annual Bayou Classic Parade: 9:30 am start time
Presented by Cricket Wireless, in partnership with the French Market District
The Annual Bayou Classic Parade continues this year in traditional, New Orleans fashion with twelve floats and more than 45 total units.
The Grand Marshall for this year’s Annual Bayou Classic Parade is Mayor of the City of New Orleans, LaToya Cantrell. Miss Louisiana Holli Conway will also be in the parade this year. Parade goers will also be able to catch commemorative 45th Anniversary Bayou Classic cups and medallion beads.
Route details: Parade begins on Elysian Fields Avenue at N. Peters Street; proceeds down N. Peters St onto Decatur Street; turns right on Canal Street; turns left on St Charles Avenue; turns right on Poydras Street; turns right on Loyola Avenue; parade ends at Duncan Plaza located on Loyola Avenue at Perdido Street.
Bayou Classic Fan Festival: 11:30 am – 3:30 pm
Presented by Cox
Champions Square at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome
An extremely popular pre-game celebration where live musical performances and entertainment get the crowd warmed up for the game. Schedule of performances for this year include:
- Xeno MoonFlower
- Kevin Stylez
- Daniel Heartless
- Kennedy Drum Line
- Metro and Honey Jack
- Keedy Black
- Tonya Boyd Cannon
- 5th Ward Weebie
- Jay Jones
- DJ Mannie Fresh
Fan Fest will also have a special appearance by the United States Army Band. Fan Fest attendees will also enjoy sponsor activations and special giveaways throughout the event.
The 45th Annual Bayou Classic Game: 4:00 pm (doors open at 2:30 pm)
More than 200,000 people come to New Orleans for the Bayou Classic weekend, and 50,000 – 60,000 make their way to the Bayou Classic game. The Bayou Classic commemorates historically black colleges and universities, academic achievement, tradition, sportsmanship, marching bands, and friendly competition. The “Classic” is an exhibition of the high standards of academic achievement deeply embedded in the traditions of the two institutions – Grambling State University and Southern University.
Other game highlights:
National anthem: Miss Louisiana Holli Conway will perform the National Anthem at this year’s Bayou Classic.
The 45th Annual Bayou Classic Halftime Show
Presented by Procter & Gamble / Crest
The electrifying halftime show will feature the Grambling State University’s World Famed Marching Band and Southern University’s Human Jukebox and Dancing Dolls.
Tickets still available
Tickets are still available for purchase through Ticketmaster or the Bayou Classic official website, www.mybayouclassic.com.
For more information, download the official Bayou Classic Mobile App, follow Bayou Classic on social media or visit www.mybayouclassic.com.
About The Bayou Classic
The Bayou Classic ( www.mybayouclassic.com ) features one of America’s greatest college sports rivalries, bringing the fans and alumni of Southern University and Grambling State University to New Orleans for a celebration of football, family and the traditions and pageantry surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Proceeds from the annual series of Bayou Classic events provide support to the campuses’ athletic programs and fund scholarships through the SU System Foundation and the GSU Foundation. The 45th Annual Bayou Classic will be played on Saturday, November 24, 2018.
The 45th Annual Bayou Classic is supported by the following organizations – Procter & Gamble/ Crest; MillerCoors; The Louisiana Office of Tourism, Louisiana Office of Culture Recreation & Tourism and Lt. Governor Billy Nungesser; US Marine Corps; The New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation; New Orleans & Company; US Army; Louisiana Seafood Promotion and Marketing Board; Be The Match; BET; MetroPCS; The Coca-Cola Company; AARP; Republic National Distributing Company/Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey; Cracker Barrel; French Market District; Cox; GE; UBER; New Orleans Plantation Country; FINRA; Entergy; Parish of Caddo – Shreveport, Louisiana; National Wildlife Federation; Visit Baton Rouge; Cricket Wireless; NOMTN – New Orleans Multicultural Tourism Network; Mignon Faget; Downtown Development District; Essence; Louisiana Highway Safety Council – LHSC; Black Women’s Health Imperative; McDonald’s; Metro Disposal; Sheen Magazine; Sony Pictures – Spider Man; ULS.