We have our first bowl cancellation of the 2020 season.
The Redbox Bowl announced Friday that it would not be played at the end of the season. The decision comes as four of the five Power Five conferences have announced plans for conference-only schedules — or close to it, in the ACC’s case — and the Pac-12 and SEC have said they won’t be starting their seasons until Sept. 26.
“The San Francisco 49ers and Levi’s Stadium have been incredible stewards of CFB over the last six years, and I, along with so many Bay Area College Football fans, am grateful for all they’ve done to support and promote the game,” a statement from Redbox Bowl executive director Ryan Oppelt said.
“While it’s unfortunate that we are unable to stage the 19th iteration of the Bay Area’s Bowl game this December, I’m confident that the Bowl property, along with the entire live sports, events and tourism industry, will be in a healthier position next year, and we can’t wait to welcome new college football teams and fans back to the San Francisco Bay Area in 2021.”
The Redbox Bowl has been held at the San Francisco 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium and pitted teams from the Big Ten and the Pac-12 and is one of the few bowl games in existence that isn’t owned by ESPN. That seems to be an important factor. Games owned by ESPN largely exist for the TV inventory that they provide. Without a major sports network owning and operating the game, the Fox-televised Redbox Bowl doesn’t have the same resources that other smaller bowls have. Especially considering that the 49ers and the bowl game separated from their operating partnership over the winter.
It sure doesn’t seem like the Redbox Bowl is going to be the only bowl game that says it’s taking a break in 2020. With uncertainty abound throughout college football about the viability of a season, lesser bowl games could be destined to be shelved this season. If a significant majority of bowl season is actually played in 2020, then the season will be a successful one.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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