Friday, December 13, 2002
2003 game to be played in Philadelphia
PHILADELPHIA -- Instead of the tradition-shrouded Army-Navy
football game, Philadelphia will get a hematology convention in
2002, tourism officials say.
The city has hosted the Army-Navy contest for most of the
centurylong rivalry and the 2002 game was to be in Philadelphia
under a 12-year contract calling for the city to host at least nine
games in that period.
But the academies are now seeking another site after
Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau officials recently
discovered that the American Society of Hematology had booked about
8,000 of the city's 10,000 hotel rooms on the same weekend as the
Teams, broadcasters and fans typically use about 5,000 hotel
rooms during the Army-Navy game weekend. And Tom Muldoon, the head
of the convention bureau, said CBS, which televises the games,
vetoed tourism officials' efforts to move the game from Dec. 7,
2002, to another date.
He said the schools rejected proposals to put fans up in
outlying hotels and shuttle them to the game, as the city did with
those attending the 2000 Republican Convention last summer.
The academies instead agreed to extend the contract and play the
2003 game in Philadelphia, he said.
The Army-Navy rivalry returns to Philadelphia this year after
being played in Baltimore last year, for the first time since 1944.
Navy avoided a winless season by edging Army 30-28 in the Dec. 2
Muldoon acknowledged that the scheduling mix-up may set back the
city's efforts to sign a new long-term contract with the schools
"I think, realistically, that we have some fences to mend," he
One possible bright side, he said, is that extending the
contract to 2003 means the two schools will get to play in a new
Eagles stadium expected to be open by then. Officials hope the new
stadium will make the academies more interested in another
Philadelphia boosters say tradition is on their side. The first
Army-Navy game was played in Philadelphia, on Dec. 2, 1899, at the
University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field. The city has hosted
the game 75 times since then.