Shine My Crown Exclusive: Meet the Trailblazing Woman Who Owns the Rights to a Major Sports Property

by Xara Aziz
Courtesy of Kendra Bulluck

As a leader in the sports industry, Kendra Bulluck has accomplished many impressive feats throughout her career and is shattering the glass ceiling for women working behind the scenes in sports.

Kendra has been recognized as a trailblazer in the industry, and her success has been a source of inspiration for many. As the rights owner of the Orange Blossom Classic, she has demonstrated her ability to run a successful football classic while breaking down barriers for women in a traditionally male-dominated field.

Now in its third year, the Orange Blossom Classic game has generated more than $20 million for South Florida’s economy since its inception, with a large percentage benefiting small and minority-owned businesses. This game has generated more than $2 million in financial investment for the participating universities.

With everything going on in Florida to silence the richness of Black Culture, it’s important we continue to amplify people like Kendra so Shine My Crown hopped on the opportunity to interview the sports mogul on experiences in the industry, her 10-year journey to reestablishing OBC after its 43-year hiatus, her views on the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the sports industry and more.

Talk to us about how your journey began. How did your childhood impact the work you are doing today?

This journey began over 10 years ago, after talking to my father who recounted the days of the original Orange Blossom Classic and Marching 100 performances. Upon researching the history of the classic, I proposed the idea of the revival of the historic game to our then Mayor of the City of Miami Gardens. 

As a child in North Carolina, HBCU’s were a part of my childhood. My mother and aunt, as graduates of Shaw University, my sister, a graduate of N.C. Central University, I visited the campuses often and always appreciated the culture and family like atmosphere. 

Do you feel the pressure to live up to being one of the few women who own the rights to a major sports property?

I mostly feel pressure to be a positive role model and representation to the younger generation. I want the message to that group to be whether your passion or calling is sports or another field, never give up on your goals. Naturally, as a woman more eyes are watching me, so I want to see other women be successful and become trailblazers in this space and I want to send a message that women can do it, but I believe inspiring the younger generation is just as important.

What has been one of your biggest challenges thus far and how did you overcome it? 

The biggest challenge thus far has been getting people to buy into the vision of what we are wanting to accomplish through this initiative. While we have been fortunate to have many who have, there are still some who will look at the success and say that it’s temporary, it was a fluke, etc. I would say we are still overcoming that and we do that by repetitively being successful each year. The beautiful thing is that a nod of approval or support from the right person(s) far outweighs the few critics. 

Talk to us more about Orange Blossom Classic. What was the idea behind bringing it back and what does the future look like for it?

The idea of bringing it back was to revive a historic event that meant so much to our community and to introduce the HBCU classic experience to our current South Florida students. The original Orange Blossom Classic was more than a football game. It was a celebration of black excellence. It was founded in the late 1940s when African-American athletes and professionals were not celebrated among their mainstream counterparts. In keeping with the intent of the original OBC, the future of OBC will be more than just a football game. It will continue to shine a light on black excellence, provide financial assistance to as many HBCU’s as possible who play in the game, provide scholarships, and give an opportunity to student-athletes to play in an NFL stadium with national exposure, who may not otherwise have that opportunity. 

Why is diversity and inclusion so important in the world of sports?                                               

Diversity and inclusion is very important. It’s important on the field and off. It’s 2023, 50 years since the passage of Title IX, yet off the field, we are still celebratory and anxious about women in leadership roles in sports. The same for minority men in front office roles. At some point, I believe these roles, while worth celebrating, should be expected as the norm.  D & I initiatives are critical to make that happen. On the field, there are still discussions about what positions minorities are best suited for and why HBCUs and their talented HBCU players are overlooked by scouts. D & I initiatives are important to bring exposure to talent and minimize these questions

Where do you see yourself in 10 years? 

Hopefully retired, since adding a couple more event properties to the OBC portfolio, but watching the next generation of leaders take the Orange Blossom Classic to the next level. 

Anything you want to add?

Tickets are on sale now for the Orange Blossom Classic Football game and all weekend events. Get your tickets at 

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