(Long Island, N.Y.) Postseason football in the Bronx. Yes, you read that correctly and although there will certainly be playoff baseball at Yankee Stadium, it doesn’t stop there. Beginning at the conclusion of the 2010 regular season, college football has found an annual home in the form of a yet-to-be-named bowl game.
The participants will be the Big East conference’s third or fourth selection and the Big 12 conference’s seventh selection. This will not give you the sexiest of match-ups but the setting will more than make up for that.
“This is a great day for New York City and the Bronx as we bring a premier college football bowl game to Yankee Stadium,” Yankees Managing General Partner Hal Steinbrenner said at a press conference at Yankee Stadium. “When we constructed this stadium, it was our intention to create a first-class baseball stadium as well as a venue capable of holding a variety of unique and memorable events.”
Both conferences voted to approve the game and signed a four-year agreement that needs to be formalized by the NCAA next April. There is one caveat that has been addressed: If the Big 12 team does not qualify under NCAA guidelines, the University of Notre Dame has stepped up and volunteered to face the Big East participant.
The date of the game has also yet to be determined but it will be during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day, something that is a definite positive to Randy Levine. “There is no better place during the holiday season to host big events than New York City and no one does big events better than New York City,” the Yankees president said. “Hosting two of college football’s premier conferences in an annual bowl game will give sports fans from all over the country a unique opportunity to experience and enjoy Yankee Stadium.
“It is a tremendous honor to bring the excitement and prestige of college football to the great stage of Yankee Stadium and the great city of New York.”
The Mayor of New York City was in attendance, as well, and was overjoyed at the aspect of holding such an important sporting event right in his own backyard. “What better place for a big game between the Big 12 and Big East than the Big Apple,” said Michael Bloomberg. “Not only will it give fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to close out their season and the year in the world’s most exciting city; it will also give us a chance to introduce New York City to thousands of new visitors, including college students and football fans from the South, East and Midwest.”
This announcement comes on the heels of Yankee Stadium being named the host of a series of regular season college football games in the next five years, beginning with the Notre Dame-Army contest on November 20, 2010.
The last NCAA bowl game to be played in the Bronx took place at the original Yankee Stadium on December 15, 1962 when Nebraska defeated Miami by a score of 36-34 in the Gotham Bowl.
With the nearest major program being Rutgers, this is a chance for New York to at least be on the college football map. Of course, the money coming in didn’t hurt, either.
“With an anticipated economic impact of $47 million, we’re thrilled to join the Yankees and play host,” added Bloomberg.
The bottom line is just that, but bringing such an event here – the kind that attracts such rabid fan bases all around the country – is a huge plus no matter what the reason.