The Sugar Bowl was a dream for more than nine years before it became a reality. Prompted by the success of the first collegiate bowl, the Rose Bowl, Col. James Thomson and Fred Digby, publisher and sports editor of the New Orleans Item, respectively, first suggested a bowl game in New Orleans in 1927 with the name “Sugar Bowl.” Their idea didn’t come to fruition until 1935.
Along with the Orange Bowl and Sun Bowl, the Sugar Bowl is the second-oldest bowl game in the nation.
The first Sugar Bowl was played at Tulane University and featured home team Tulane, which defeated Temple 20-14 in 1935. The game was played at Tulane Stadium from 1935 until 1974, when it was moved to the Superdome, where it has been played every year except a post-Katrina trip in 2006 to the Georgia Dome in Atlanta.
The game has traditionally featured the Southeastern Conference champion against a top-tier at-large opponent.
Starting in 2015, the Sugar Bowl began hosting the champions of the SEC and the Big 12, unless one of those teams is taking part in a national championship game. In that case, a team from the same conference takes its place. It is also rotates as a host as for a national semifinal game. Sponsors of the bowl have included USF&G Financial Services and Nokia. Allstate Insurance began sponsoring the bowl game in 2006.