ESPN cancels two bowl games in Hawaii and Bahamas due to COVID-19 travel restrictions

Jack Baer
·Writer
·2 min read

A college football bowl season that was always going to feel different has also become a little smaller.

ESPN Events announced Friday that the Hawaii Bowl and Bahamas Bowl have been canceled for the 2020 season. The announcement cited current health pandemic and travel restrictions as reasons behind the decision.

From ESPN:

“We are disappointed that we aren’t able to stage events at these premier destinations this year,” said Pete Derzis, ESPN senior vice president of college sports programming & ESPN Events. “We are committed to bringing both games back in 2021, and we thank our conference partners, sponsors and the local communities for their ongoing support and understanding.”

The Hawaii Bowl, played at Honolulu’s Aloha Bowl, has been held every year around Christmas since 2002. The Bahamas Bowl is younger, going back to 2014 in Nassau.

Travel restrictions in place at Hawaii and Bahamas

Hawaii quarterback Cole McDonald (13) holds up the Hawaii Bowl trophy, next to wide receiver Jason-Matthew Sharsh, left, after the team's 38-34 win over BYU in the NCAA college football game Tuesday, Dec. 24, 2019, in Honolulu. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)
The Hawaii Bowl will be back in 2021. (AP Photo/Eugene Tanner)

Travel in and out of the U.S. has been restricted for months as the coronavirus continues to spread throughout the country. The Bahamas do allow Americans to visit, but a negative COVID-19 test is required for entry, and hotel guests must then “vacation-in-place” for 14 days. The U.S. State Department also currently has a “Do Not Travel” advisory for the country.

As for Hawaii, the island is set to open for mainland tourism on Oct. 15, but will also require a negative COVID-19 test or 14-day quarantine. The University of Hawaii, which plays football at Aloha Stadium, announced an eight-game football schedule on Friday that includes four road games against mainland teams.

The Hawaii Bowl and Bahamas Bowl are the only college football bowl games that were scheduled to be held outside the mainland United States, but we’ll see if pandemic restrictions or a disjointed season will cause any more games to take 2020 off.

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