Wednesday, September 30, 2009
'Yankee Bowl' unveiled
Posted by ESPN.com's Brian Bennett
The new "Yankee Bowl" was officially announced this morning at a news conference in Yankee Stadium. I put that in quotes, because officials stressed that the game hasn't been named yet and that they are still seeking a title sponsor. So it's officially the game with no name. But I'll refer to it as the Yankee Bowl until further notice.
Anyway, there wasn't much said in the news conference we didn't already know. The date of the game will be sometime between Christmas and New Year's Day, though Dec. 29 is the preferred date I'm hearing. It will be Big East No. 4 vs. Big 12 No. 7, with Notre Dame available to fill in for the Big 12 if needed. No TV deal has been brokered yet, either, though that shouldn't be a problem.
Big East commissioner John Marinatto said he envisions the game eventually being to New York what the Rose Bowl and Tournament of Roses Parade is to Pasadena. Organizer are hoping to capitalize on the holiday festivities around New York City, including New Year's Eve at Times Square.
Many of the questions about the game centered on the possible bad weather. Marinatto said that the league factored that in to its decision-making, of course, but that the pluses -- which included the location, the geographic fit and playing a BCS conference -- far outweighed any minuses. Even Big 12 commissioner Dan Beebe, who oversees many warm-weather schools, said the potential climate issues didn't bother him.
"Bring on the snow, bring on the ice, I don't care," Beebe said. "We'll put on ice skates instead of cleats. It's too great of an opportunity to pass up."
Granted, I am speaking here as a guy who watches games in enclosed press boxes, but I don't think the weather will be much of a factor. If, say, South Florida gets invited to the game, then maybe its fans won't be able to deal with the cold and snow. But most of the fan bases from the Northeastern schools are used to such conditions.
And I think this will make the game unique, especially for TV purposes. If you've watched an NFL game in high-def when it's cold and snowy, you know how spectacular that looks. Plus, it might even give Big East teams an advantage if, for example, Connecticut was playing Texas Tech in 25-degree temperatures.
The potential down sides I see are the seating -- which, judging by the configuration of Yankee Stadium, looks too far away from the field -- and lodging. Ever tried to book a hotel in New York City around Christmastime? You might need a loan to do so. Officials said they will work to have special bowl package deals, but those who like to make their own arrangements might find the trip prohibitively expensive.
The "Yankee Bowl" is happening, though, and it will be fascinating to see how this idea works.