Yankees officials Tuesday trotted out a naming sponsor, television partnership and specific date for a new college football bowl game that, had it existed last year, theoretically would have matched Rutgers - 3-4 in the Big East - against Texas A & M - 3-5 in the Big 12.
The 35th game in the 2010-11 bowl season will be known as the Pinstripe Bowl, backed by the New Era sports apparel giant, telecast by ESPN and played Dec. 30 at Yankee Stadium.
In the tightly choreographed bowl invitation process, with conferences locked into a pecking order of bowls, the Pinstripe Bowl would get the Big East team with the third-best conference record against the team with the sixth-best Big 12 mark, excluding BCS participants.
In the December cold.
"Why will it be successful?" Yankees president Randy Levine asked during a morning news conference. "The first reason is that it's here, at Yankee Stadium. That's the great appeal."
It will be the first college bowl game in the metropolitan area since 1981, when the last of four Garden State bowls was played at Giants Stadium, and the first at Yankee Stadium since 1962, when the last of two Gotham Bowls sold only 6,166 tickets for a Nebraska-Miami matchup at the original stadium.
Levine dismissed the possibility that the event could suffer from an oversaturation of bowl games. "With all due respect, we wouldn't be world champions . . . if we listened to that kind of negative stuff. We're very, very confident, as with most of the things we do here . . . there'll be great demand" for tickets.
When the first sketchy details of a Yankee Stadium bowl were announced in September, Notre Dame was said to be a fall-back option should a Big East or Big 12 team fail to meet the NCAA "bowl-eligible" requirement of six regular-season victories. Levine said that Notre Dame "is still in the mix" in that case. A Notre Dame spokesman later said he wasn't sure such a commitment existed.
In general, consultants optimistic about the event pointed to the relative lack of big-time sports competition in New York during the Christmas holidays, the lure of Yankee Stadium as a sports mecca and the chance for participating teams to showcase their universities in the huge New York market.