The Cherry Bowl was an annual post-season college football bowl game played in the Pontiac Silverdome in Pontiac, Michigan, in 1984 and 1985. The Cherry Bowl is noteworthy as an early attempt to bring a game to chilly Michigan, years before the successful Motor City Bowl (now known as the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl). However, the bowl was not financially viable, and folded after its second year. The Little Caesars Pizza Bowl has since replaced the Cherry Bowl as a northern dome bowl game.
The Cherry Bowl was apparently off to a good start with its 1984 game, drawing more than 70,000 to its Army-Michigan State matchup. This game is noteworthy as Army's first-ever bowl appearance. For 1985, the bowl ambitiously promised $1.2 million to each team, the fifth-highest payout among all bowls.
The mid-1980s were a time of upheaval in college football. The end of NCAA control over television rights resulted in a major increase in televised games, and TV rights fees dropped sharply amid the resulting glut, something not anticipated by the Cherry Bowl organizers. Adding to their problems, without the local Michigan State team attendance for the 1985 game (between Maryland and Syracuse) fell by nearly 20,000.
Negotiations with General Motors to become the game's title sponsor failed. Unable to meet its payout obligation and more than $1 million in debt, the Cherry Bowl folded.