- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 11, 2011

ORLANDO, FLA. (AP) - The annual Florida Classic college football matchup between Bethune-Cookman University and Florida A&M has received a new title sponsor.

The presidents from both historically black colleges announced a five-year deal Wednesday with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida, which will also keep the game at Orlando’s Florida Citrus Bowl through 2015. The final two years of the five-year pact are optional.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield will also sponsor the popular Battle of the Bands competition between the schools.

The Florida Classic started in 1978 and has spent the past 17 years in Orlando. In that time it has had an average attendance of more than 66,000. The game had an estimated $31 million in economic impact for central Florida last year.

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