Atlanta businessman John Grant has been appointed executive director of the Celebration Bowl announced today. The new postseason college football bowl game, owned and operated by ESPN Events, a division of ESPN, is set to premiere at noon ET Saturday, Dec. 19, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, live on ABC. The Celebration Bowl, which showcases the legacy, values and traditions of Historically Black Colleges and Universities, will pit the conference champion from the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference against the Southwestern Athletic Conference champion.

With a distinguished history of professional success and leadership, Grant has led the 100 Black Men of Atlanta as chief executive officer for the past 14 years. He joined the organization in 1988 at age 30, becoming the 100 Black Men of Atlanta’s youngest member. Among his myriad awards and accolades, Grant most recently was selected as an inductee into the Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau’s 2015 Hospitality Hall of Fame.

“John has long been committed to the Atlanta community, and we are excited to have him lead our efforts with the Celebration Bowl,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president, ESPN Events. “He has demonstrated his leadership and guidance with the 100 Black Men of Atlanta for over a decade, and he has great passion for the tradition and legacy of Historically Black Colleges and Universities.”

Grant serves on several boards including the Atlanta Sports Council, Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau, Central Atlanta Progress, Georgia Humanities Council, Emory University Center for Ethics, and the National Wildlife Federation. He also served on the working committee and advisory board for the Center for Civil and Human Rights along with the Early Learning Commission for the United Way.

“I am looking forward to leading a new tradition of celebrating the best in HBCU football with the Celebration Bowl,” Grant said. “ESPN leads the way in delivering the best college football experience, and we look to build a longstanding tradition of uplifting the African American community and the significance of HBCUs with a game that will kick off the college football bowl season in Atlanta.”

Courtesy: ESPN Events


  1. Mr. Grant’s resume appears nice, but my question is does he have an real HBCU experience? If he does not, it appears that too often, many HBCU events and schools are ran by Black Americans with no HBCU experience. Hopefully, his business experience and accolades with bring prestige, sponsors and more money to the Celebration Bowl and not turn it into a laughing joke.


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