- Associated Press - Friday, February 7, 2014

FORT WORTH, Texas (AP) - Aerospace and technology giant Lockheed Martin Corp. is taking over as title sponsor of the Armed Forces Bowl.

Bowl officials announced a three-year deal Friday that goes through the 2016 game played on the TCU campus. Financial details weren’t released, but the deal includes an option for more games sponsored by a company that employs more than 15,000 people in the area.

“Their deep commitment to the armed services is a perfect fit with everything our bowl stands for,” said Brant Ringler, the bowl’s executive director. “Having a world-renowned, local company involved with our game is going to be great for North Texas area football fans, participating universities and their fans; and most importantly the armed forces community we honor.”

The bowl will be played for the 12th time in December. This year, a school from the American Athletic Conference will play Army, pending the Black Knights being bowl eligible.

Navy defeated Middle Tennessee State 24-6 in last year’s game. With Navy’s participation in December, the Armed Forces Bowl became the first bowl game to host all three service academy teams.

Lockheed Martin replaces Bell Helicopter, which had been the title sponsor since 2006. Bell Helicopter will remain as a sponsor at a lower level.

The Armed Forces Bowl is one of 11 college bowl games Owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television, a subsidiary of ESPN.

Lockheed Martin has thousands of employees in North Texas, primarily at its aeronautics business headquarters in Fort Worth and its missiles and fire control business headquarters in Grand Prairie.

“Sponsoring the Armed Forces Bowl is one way for Lockheed Martin to support the men and women who bravely serve our nation and defend our freedoms,” said Marillyn Hewson, chairman, president and CEO of Lockheed Martin. “In addition to supporting the bowl game that often features the military academies, the event promotes recruiting for tomorrow’s armed forces, provides needed support for wounded warriors, and recognizes the selfless service of our veterans from every branch of service. These are missions that we believe are important and are proud to support.”

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