Jun 11, 2024 - News

Mission Valley snaps up Holiday Bowl

Petco Park during the Holiday Bowl

Workers clear the field after the 2021 Holiday Bowl was canceled. Photo: Matt Thomas/San Diego Padres/Getty Images

The Holiday Bowl is ending its brief, rocky stay at Petco Park and is heading back to Mission Valley.

Why it matters: Snapdragon Stadium, built by SDSU specifically for college football nearly two years ago, is now home to San Diego's biggest annual college football game.

Driving the news: The bowl game is moving to the new stadium on the former site of Qualcomm Stadium, the bowl's home for most of its 45-year history, San Diego Sports and the San Diego Padres announced Tuesday.

Catch-up quick: In 2021, the city council facilitated the bowl's downtown move by removing a ban on playing football games in Petco Park from the city's contract with the Padres.

  • That vote also authorized $2.2 million in renovations to the ballpark — which the city owns and the Padres operate — to accommodate football and expand its capacity.
  • The city agreed to cover $650,000 of those construction costs and received 30% of event proceeds.

State of play: The Holiday Bowl's first year at Petco Park was delayed until 2022, because the 2021 game was canceled after UCLA withdrew due to a last-minute COVID-19 outbreak.

  • The game occurred downtown just twice, in 2022 and 2023.

Between the lines: The city estimated it would net nearly $1 million in revenue over the game's first five years in Petco Park, including its share of the upgrades.

Flashback: Voters in 2018 approved a ballot measure that directed the city to sell the former Qualcomm Stadium property to SDSU so they could build a new stadium, river park and campus expansion.

The big picture: Snapdragon Stadium got off to a rocky start, making national news during its debut when more than 200 people were treated for heat-related medical issues.


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