SAN DIEGO (AP) — The Holiday Bowl has become the fourth bowl game to be called off due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Holiday Bowl officials announced Thursday that the board of directors voted unanimously to cancel what would have been the 43rd straight edition of the game. It would have been the first year of a six-year deal to match teams from the Pac-12 and Atlantic Coast Conference.
Bowl officials had been seeking a suitable place to play after San Diego State announced it was closing SDCCU Stadium, formerly known as Qualcomm Stadium, two seasons earlier than planned to expedite construction of its new 35,000 seat stadium as part of a campus expansion in Mission Valley. Because fans wouldn't have been allowed in, bowl officials knew they didn't need a 70,000-seat stadium.
“This has been the most difficult decision our board has ever had to make since our bowl game started in 1978,” Holiday Bowl CEO Mark Neville said in a statement. “While it’s not the decision we wanted to make, it’s the right decision for our non-profit association and the community for the long term.
“This decision was particularly difficult because our tourism industry has taken such a hit due to the pandemic,” Neville said. “The virus has created a situation in that we wouldn’t be able to welcome fans, ultimately resulting in no tourism. Couple that with the financial and potential health risks of trying to play the game during this pandemic and it was clear this was the right decision for us.”
Holiday Bowl officials have said they’d like to move the game to Petco Park, the downtown home of baseball’s Padres.
The Redbox Bowl in Santa Clara and the Hawaii and Bahamas bowls have also been called off.