At a press conference Wednesday, Yankee owner Hal Steinbrenner was joined by New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg for the official announcement of a college football bowl game to take place at Yankee Stadium in December 2010. While it's been dubbed the Yankee Bowl, there's no official name for what would be the 35th postseason clash on the college football docket.
Word about this announcement has been coming for quite some time and, as we reported earlier this month, the game will pit also-rans from the Big 12 and Big East sometime between Christmas and New Year's on the potentially frozen tundra of the house that Big Stein built. The game isn't without its drawbacks, but let's focus on the positives first.
It's great that Yankee Stadium will be used for other events during the baseball offseason. The boom of arena and stadium construction around New York City has glutted the city with far more venues than events to actually fill them up. Since they've all received some form of public financing, finding multiple uses for the buildings helps justify their existence in the first place. We're not naive enough to think that the sports world is headed back to actual multi-use facilities, but six months of dormancy does little to explain why these stadiums were so needed in the first place.
New York City is also a nice addition to the college football landscape. The original idea behind bowl games may have been to send teams from cold climates down south for the holidays, but it's hard to see many people choosing to spend Christmas season in Shreveport or St. Petersburg instead of checking out the tree in Rockefeller Center and enjoying the rest of the seasonal splendors that the city has to offer.
There's also the potential revenue for the city's rapidly emptying coffers, although that's where we start getting into the drawbacks. Whatever Shreveport lacks, it is a much cheaper destination for a December visit for fans of South Florida, Kansas and Baylor. Since the city isn't a college football hotbed to begin with, you can't count on local fans making up the difference to watch two teams they could care less about doing battle in a game that means absolutely nothing. There were claims of 40,000 fans and $47 million in spending at the presser, numbers which may be optimistic unless and/or until the economy turns around.
Added to that is the issue of what fans will be paying for when they come to see the game. A look at the diagram of the field (a similar shot appeared at the presser) makes you wonder how many people will be paying top dollar to sit a pretty fair distance from the field itself. Temporary seating doesn't make any sense as you'd interfere with the views from the regular stands and the luxury boxes that they'd doubtlessly be peddling to boosters are awfully far away from the action. And let's all hope that the crammed in end zones don't lead to a receiver hurting himself badly after running full speed into a wall.
Finally, there's the question of the name. If it isn't the Yankee Bowl, what will it be? It's probably best to stay away from a direct sponsorship name given the current economic state of affairs, lest you be stuck with the Goldman Sachs Bowl weeks after they're accused of arranging a coup d'etat. The Big Apple or Bronx Bowl might work, although there's not much sizzle there. The Costanza Bowl? The I Didn't Realize the 6 Train Stopped At 161st Street in the Winter Bowl? The Bridge and Tunnel Bowl? Leave your suggestions below.