The Mid-American Conference and ESPN Events released a joint statement on Thursday afternoon to announce the 2023 edition of the Bahamas Bowl will be played in “an alternate location” due to construction efforts.
“While the primary venue undergoes improvements, ESPN Events is actively working to secure an alternate location for this year’s bowl game,” ESPN Events vice president Clint Overby said via press release. “Specific plans for the new venue will be announced in the coming weeks.”
The Bahamas Bowl, which has been a staple of the MAC post-season since 2014, has been played at Thomas A. Robinson Stadium, the Bahamian national sporting stadium, since its inception.
The stadium, which also hosts a number of IAFF track-and-field events and the Bahamaian national soccer teams, is set to undergo a long-planned renovation to fix a number of safety concerns. The Bahamaian government currently has no timeline for when the fixes will be finished, as they are working in cooperation with the Chinese government on the safety changes and aesthetic adjustments.
“We have some serious work that is going to be starting on the stadium in January,” Bahamian Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Mario Bowleg told the Nassau Guardian on Oct. 12 when discussing if the Bahamas Bowl and other CONCACAF events would be held at the site in the near future. “I know we are in agreement with the Chinese government to commence some serious repairs, and that is supposed to start on November 1. Depending on when they come, along with the technocrats from the ministry of works, they will be able to determine that.”
The project could cost between $10-30 million— or nothing at all to the local government, as Bowleg noted their Chinese partners could offer the island nation the stadium repairs as a gift.
It is to be determined if the bowl game will stay on the island or move back stateside. A move back to the United States wouldn’t be unprecedented; the Hula Bowl, an all-star collegiate game, moved from Hawai’i to Orlando, Florida in 2022 due to the closure of Honolulu’s Aloha Stadium.