May 2, 2002
San Francisco -- Pacific Bell Park will be the home of a new college football bowl game on New Year's Eve.
The game, known as the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl, was officially certified today by the NCAA. It will match teams from the Big East Conference and the Mountain West Conference. Kickoff is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Pacific Time. The broadcast network will be ESPN.
"This is great news for the city of San Francisco," said John Marks, President of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, who is also President of the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl Game Association, the nonprofit entity sponsoring the game. "Our hotel community is very excited about the prospect of hosting this event, and we have a strong commitment from the office of our Mayor. We think the game will generate over $10 million in revenue for the city."
Pacific Bell Park also serves as the home of the East-West Shrine Game and previously was the home of the most successful franchise in the XFL. The game will be managed by Giants Enterprises.
"The city of San Francisco and Pacific Bell Park will provide a spectacular venue for a bowl game," said Pat Gallagher, President of Giants Enterprises. "We hope to establish a real, community-based holiday tradition in San Francisco and support the hospitality industry in the city."
Longtime Bay Area sports executive Gary Cavalli has been named Executive Director of the game, Gallagher said. Cavalli was SID and Associate Athletic Director at Stanford University for eight years and also was the co-founder and Commissioner of the American Basketball League.
"We think we have the ingredients for a successful bowl game--two good conferences, a great venue, ESPN, the city of San Francisco, and strong community involvement," Cavalli said. "Our goal is to generate a lot of local interest in this game and provide a memorable experience for the competing teams, their fans and alumni."
The Mountain West Conference will send its third selection to the Diamond Walnut San Francisco Bowl, while the Big East will send the third, fourth or fifth team from the Conference, or Notre Dame.