Dec. 16 night game for 2023 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl

EARLY DATE: The 2023 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl will kick off on the opening day of this year’s major college bowl season, one week earlier than the 2022 edition that featured Houston against UL Lafayette two days before Christmas. (Photo by JOHN PENROD, Journal Sports)


It’s Saturday Night Live for the 2023 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl, wrapping up a busy opening day of college football’s 2023-24 major college bowl season.

Shreveport-Bossier’s annual college football bowl game will kick off on Saturday, Dec. 16 at 8:15 p.m. CT on ESPN.  The I-Bowl will be the seventh and final game of the day, a week earlier than the 2022 edition pitting Houston against UL Lafayette two days before Christmas.

The announcement was jointly made by the local bowl and the bowl alliance Wednesday afternoon.

The primetime contest is slated to be a matchup of the Big 12 Conference against the Pac-12 Conference which, if both leagues have bowl-eligible members to send, would be the first time two Power Five conference teams have matched up in Shreveport’s bowl since 2016. 

“A primetime Saturday night game, along with the matchup we have this year, produces a lot of excitement for the 2023 Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl,” said the bowl’s executive director, Missy Setters. “Being on the night of Dec. 16 will allow local and traveling fans to enjoy a full day of tailgating and football without interfering with Christmas plans, so we think this sets up tremendously for local and traveling fans.”

The Dec. 16 kickoff to the 43-game 2023-24 bowl season starts at 10 a.m. CST with the Hometown Lenders Bahamas Bowl, then the Cricket Celebration Bowl an hour later determining the HBCU national championship. The R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl kicks at 1:15, ahead of the Cure Bowl at 2:30, the New Mexico Bowl at 4:45 and the LA Bowl at 6:30. The Independence Bowl will anchor the slate.

The last time the I-Bowl had a primetime kickoff on a Saturday was the 1990 contest between Louisiana Tech and Maryland. It is the first primetime kickoff since the 2008 game between Louisiana Tech and Northern Illinois.

This is the third consecutive pre-Christmas game date for the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl, which has aided in producing impressive television viewership. The bowl has averaged 2.86 million viewers in the last two years. This year will be the 31st consecutive year that an ESPN network will televise the local game.

The last Big 12 team in the Independence Bowl was Missouri in 2011, while Arizona was the last Pac-12 representative in 2013. The Big 12 is 4-8 all-time at the Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl, and the Pac-12 sports a 3-1 record in four appearances in Shreveport.

The ticket renewal process is under way for fans who have bought Radiance Technologies Independence Bowl tickets in the past. Tickets will go on sale to the public in September and will be available at Individual tickets will start at $20, and there will also be group tickets, Small Business Fan Packs, Family Four-Packs and other ticket packages available. For ticketing questions, fans can contact Ticketing Director Avrielle Steward at

I-Bowl Week will once again feature a full week of public events for fans to enjoy – including the annual Rally on the Red on Friday night, Dec. 15.