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Friday, Oct 7, 2022

New Era, New View… New Bowl Game?

Let’s have the sort of fun folks used to have when Los Angeles was the last train stop for folks itching to get out of the snow or just onto something new.

Let’s talk about a new bowl game.

The Rose Bowl started in Pasadena back when this market was a striver, chock full of real estate promoters pushing the Southern California version of the American Dream to Midwesterners – folks who would fill up hotels and restaurants in the bargain.

A more recent arrival from the Midwest brought the Rams football club with him, along with plans for a football stadium in Inglewood, which is about as far to the south and west of downtown as Pasadena is to the north and east.

Stan Kroenke’s $3 billion L.A. Stadium & Entertainment District is still under construction but already has two NFL teams as tenants, a Super Bowl lined up, and a spot in the rotation to host the NCAA’s Division I Football Bowl Subdivision title game in 2023.

That last one brings up the bowl game. Because nearly every other venue that either has or is slated to host the national championship also features another game.

Venues from Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara host a bowl game every year and add the national championship game when it’s in town.

There’s plenty of room to separate a bowl game from a national championship game in Inglewood and also give the Rose Bowl the stage to itself each Jan. 1.

Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta hosted the Celebration Bowl on Dec. 16, the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl on Jan. 1, and this year’s national championship game a week later.

The Celebration Bowl featured teams from two historically African-American schools – a choice that likely had regional appeal, with many such colleges and universities in the American South.

Perhaps a nod to a local legacy – aerospace? Hollywood? – might work in L.A. Perhaps something more forward-oriented – the Silicon Beach Innovation Bowl?

There’s no guarantee — other bowl games haven’t fared well here.

Anyone remember the Mercy Bowl? Or the Christmas Festival Bowl? Or the Freedom Bowl?

There are two new factors that might make this worth consideration, though.

An obvious factor is the new, unique and inspiring stadium and related commercial and residential developments that are rising in Inglewood.

Less obvious is the ongoing re-evaluation of the many and diverse communities of South Los Angeles County, with major transit projects, educational developments and a new generation of entrepreneurs bringing fresh possibilities to a place of enormous potential. (see related coverage, Page 3 Column, page 5.)


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