Yankee Stadium to host Pinstripe Bowl
Sponsored by New Era, inaugural game set for Dec. 30
NEW YORK -- In its first year of existence, Yankee Stadium hosted a gamut of "firsts:" first regular-season game, first postseason game and first World Series. Now, the Yankees' home will experience a new first of the non-baseball variety -- a college football bowl game.
Yankee Stadium will host the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl on Dec. 30, 2010, the Yankees announced at a news conference on Tuesday morning, held in conjunction with the Big 12 Conference, the Big East Conference, ESPN and New Era.
Among the Yankees' brass in attendance Tuesday were managing partner Hal Steinbrenner, president Randy Levine and chief operating officer Lonn Trost. Steinbrenner and Levine both expressed the Yankees' excitement to present an NCAA bowl game.
"We're very excited to be hosting the Pinstripe Bowl -- two great football conferences, the Big 12 and the Big East," Steinbrenner said. "We all know the old tradition that's held across the street is a rich history. Most of it is baseball, but there's football there, too."
In addition to his own excitement, Hal Steinbrenner conveyed the pleasure of the Boss, his father George, who played and coached in the college football ranks.
"Football has always been a love of my dad; he played it, he coached it," Steinbrenner said. "He's got a great many friends in the sport itself. ... He's very excited about this. He's looking forward to December, as we are all."
Levine spoke of the instant credibility the game was likely to receive because of its partnership with two major BCS conferences, its partnership with ESPN and, of course, its venue.
"Why will it be successful? First, it will be successful because it's here at Yankee Stadium. I think no matter the sport, every kid who grows up wants to play at Yankee Stadium," Levine said.
New Era Cap Company, the event's title sponsor, agreed to a four-year deal, while the Big 12 and Big East are both committed through 2013. New Era CEO Christopher Koch highlighted the unique relationship between New Era and the Yankees, dating back to a friendship between his father, Dave, and the elder Steinbrenner.
"We go back a long ways," Koch said. "We are very proud of the relationship and the partnership that we've built over the last 35-plus years with the Yankees. We're thrilled to be the title sponsor of the Pinstripe Bowl."
Levine also announced the formation of an advisory committee for the bowl game, to be chaired by former American League president and longtime collegiate administrator Gene Budig.
The game would feature a matchup between the Big East's No. 3 school and the Big 12's No. 6 team, excluding the conferences' BCS Bowl participants. Had the game been played in 2009, the matchup would have been between West Virginia and Missouri.
The inaugural game will be the first college football bowl game held in the Bronx since Dec. 15, 1962, when Nebraska beat Miami (Fla.), 36-34 in the Gotham Bowl, held in the House that Ruth Built.
The bowl game won't be the first college game played at the stadium in 2010. The new Yankee Stadium, which opened prior to the 2009 season, will also host a regular-season college football game between Notre Dame and Army on Nov. 20, 2010, to be followed by a series of Army games in the future.
The Pinstripe Bowl itself -- destined to become a "premier event," according to Levine -- will be the culmination of a weeklong series of events for both teams. It will also, no doubt, add another chapter to the ever-extending epic that is sports legend in the Bronx.
Bailey Stephens is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.