The East Los Angeles Classic, the annual football game between Garfield and Roosevelt high schools, could be heading to Pasadena.
“Don’t be surprised if we’re standing over there at this time next year,” said Garfield Principal Jose Huerta, pointing to the Rose Bowl logo on a shirt during a news conference to promote Friday’s game at East Los Angeles College.
“We’re having discussions with the Rose Bowl. They’d love to have us, and we’re interested to see what they have to offer.”
At the high school level, the Rose Bowl has long been the home of the annual Turkey Tussle between Pasadena and Muir high schools.
The East L.A. Classic has been played mostly at East L.A. College Stadium after it was built in 1951 and has attracted capacity crowds of 20,000 since the 1960s. After a brief four-year run at the Coliseum, the east side rivals reluctantly returned to East L.A. in 2004 and have played there since.
Both schools are unhappy with the costs of playing the game there, which includes rent and city permit fees for police and traffic enforcement assessed by the city of Monterey Park, where the college is located. The schools have also complained that they don’t share in revenue from food and beverage concessions and parking.
“We need to get a better relationship with the college,” Huerta said.
Roosevelt Principal Sofia Freire would like to see the game stay at East L.A..
“The game belongs here,” she said. “But if there’s a stadium that is more viable for us, then we should consider it.”
The schools previously have held discussions with the Rose Bowl about moving the game, billed as the biggest high school football game west of the Mississippi River. They went as far as to announce a move to the historic stadium in the Arroyo Seco in 1994, but it never materialized.
The teams continued to play at the college before moving to the Coliseum after the 1999 game. An estimated 33,000 took in the first game in the cavernous Coliseum. But although no figures were ever announced, attendance appeared to drop to much less than what it drew at East L.A.