Yankee 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, would have matched Rutgers — 3-4 in the Big East Conference — against Texas A&M — 3-5 in the Big 12.
What will be 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 on Dec. 30 at Yankee Stadium. In the tightly choreographed bowl invitation process, with conferences locked into a pecking order of bowls based on league standings, 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.
In the December cold.
“Why will it be successful?” Yankee president Randy Levine asked during a morning press conference. “The first reason is that it’s here, at Yankee Stadium. That’s the great appeal.” Deals with New Era, which has a long association both with the Yankees and Major League Baseball, and with ESPN “gives the game instant credibility and instance access,” Levine said.
It will be the first college bowl game in the New York 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-Alabama matchup at the original stadium.
Levine dismissed the possibility that the game 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’ve 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 last 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 Tuesday that Notre Dame “is still in the mix” in that case.
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 huge market.