The Birmingham Bowl (formerly known as the PapaJohns.com Bowl and the BBVA Compass Bowl) is a post-season NCAA-sanctioned Division I-A college football bowl game approved in April 2006 and played annually at the 71,594-seat Legion Field in Birmingham, Alabama, U.S. ESPN Regional Television (doing business as ESPN Plus, a subsidiary of ESPN) owns and manages the bowl's operations, sponsorships and marketing, including broadcast of the game on ESPN. The University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) also provides marketing, management and game-day operations support. The game was sponsored by BBVA Compass, a subsidiary of Bilbao, Spain-based Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria which is based in Birmingham. Compass and bowl officials announced the new sponsorship on November 4, 2010. The game formerly promoted the website of Papa John's Pizza, who became the title sponsor signing a multi-year agreement on November 16, 2006. The company declined to renew its sponsorship in 2010, so the bowl name reverted to its working title before the announcement of the Compass deal. On April 3, 2013, BBVA Compass decided not to renew its sponsorship of the BBVA Compass Bowl following the January 2014 game.
The bowl originally had a four-year agreement with Conference USA to match a representative of that conference against an opponent from the Big East Conference, but the bowl's officials later appealed to the NCAA for a recertification which was granted in late April 2008. In 2008 and 2009, the bowl featured the Southeastern Conference's ninth bowl-eligible team and a team from the Big East Conference. The game currently features teams from the SEC and the American Athletic Conference. Should either of these conferences not fulfill their bowl commitments, a team from C-USA or the Mid-American Conference will take their place, provided it is bowl eligible. Otherwise, the game will choose an at-large team (as in 2008, when the SEC was unable to send a team; the bowl selected ACC team North Carolina State to face Rutgers from the Big East despite the fact that the bowl had an arrangement with the Sun Belt Conference at the time and it had at least one bowl-eligible team it could send).