SAN FRANCISCO - The Pacific-10 Conference and the Emerald Bowl today renewed their agreement through at least 2013, and the Bowl announced three new affiliations that will provide the Pac-10 with a unique set of future opponents in San Francisco.
The Emerald Bowl, now in its eighth year, will match the Pac-10's No. 6 pick against top teams from the Western Athletic Conference, Navy and Army during the next four-year bowl cycle [2010-2013].
“We're thrilled to extend our affiliation with the Pac-10,” said Emerald Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli. “Having the Pac-10 as our anchor conference has helped grow the game and build the Emerald Bowl's stature and visibility on a national scale. With the Pac-10 in the game the last three years, we've drawn two sellout crowds and become one of the highest rated bowls on television.
“We're also excited about our new partnerships with the WAC, Navy and Army. These agreements guarantee a high quality matchup for our fans, title sponsor and television viewers around the country. This combination of opponents gives us a perfect blend of local and national appeal, top-notch football and pageantry.”
Last year's Emerald Bowl, which matched Cal vs Miami, drew a record crowd of 42,268 and a TV rating of 4.6, the 8th highest audience among the 34 “The Pacific-10 Conference is very pleased to extend its relationship with the Emerald Bowl,” said Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott
“The setting in AT&T Park in downtown San Francisco has made the Emerald Bowl a very attractive destination for the Pac-10 teams that have earned a berth in the game and a favorite of fans who follow those teams.
“We believe that the future of the Emerald Bowl is very bright and commend the leadership and staff of the bowl for making the game a truly memorable experience.”
The Pac-10 team's opponent, Cavalli said, will be the WAC's 1st, 2nd or 3rd place team in the years 2010 and 2013, with Army coming to San Francisco in 2011 and Navy in 2012.
“This is a great arrangement for the WAC and its nine football teams,” said commissioner Karl Benson. “The Emerald Bowl has established itself as a premier bowl in a great city. I am sure our fans will love to travel to San Francisco.
“We look forward to bringing nationally prominent teams like Boise State and Fresno State to the Emerald Bowl,” Cavalli said. “San Francisco is a short distance away from many of the WAC schools. This affiliation will give WAC fans a chance to see their teams play in one of the world's greatest cities.”
Navy will return to the Emerald Bowl in 2012 after having beaten New Mexico in the 2004 game.
“Based on our visit in 2004, we have seen first-hand that the Emerald Bowl is a magnificent overall environment and event,” said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk. “San Francisco, the stadium, community, hospitality, bowl administration and the beauty of Northern California present as fine a postseason experience as we could possibly enjoy.
“The Academy is sincerely grateful to Gary Cavalli and his staff for inviting us back and setting the stage for our team to earn an enjoyable trip to the West Coast and an inspiring matchup versus the Pac-10.”
“We had a fantastic experience with Navy in 2004 and have been looking for an opportunity to bring them back to San Francisco ever since,” Cavalli said. “They've won at least eight games for the past six years and become of the most desirable bowl teams in the country. They bring not only an outstanding football team, but 20,000 fans, unmatched tradition and great pageantry.In the year 2011, Army [if bowl eligible] will meet a Pac-10 team in San Francisco. The Cadets are the only service academy that has not yet appeared in an Emerald Bowl [Air Force played in the inaugural 2002 game].
“We couldn't be more excited about the opportunity to showcase our football program in the Emerald Bowl in 2011,” said Army Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson. “We feel the tradition and pageantry of the Army football program is second to none and would provide a tremendous spectacle for the people of San Francisco during the holidays.
“I'm certain our fans, graduates and the Corps of Cadets will be very excited to travel to Northern California to face a Pac-10 Conference team in December and support the Black Knights.”
“Great things are expected under new coach Rich Ellerson,” Cavalli said. “I think we're out ahead of the curve in inviting a program that is destined to become highly successful and sought after by many post-season bowls.”
This year's Emerald Bowl, matching teams from the Pac-10 and ACC, is set for Saturday, December 26, 2009 at AT&T Park. Kickoff is 5:00 p.m. [PST]/8:00 p.m. [EST]. It will be carried nationally via ESPN and ESPN Radio. Tickets for the game are now on sale and may be obtained through the game's official website, www.emeraldbowl.org.