Rose Bowl officials decide not to bid on 2020 college title game

Officials say Rose Bowl 'is not compatible' with requirements to bid for College Football Playoff title game

The Rose Bowl, after careful consideration, has decided against bidding for the 2020 College Football Playoff championship game.

A task force spend months studying the feasibility of hosting, but the Tournament of Roses executive board ultimately decided against moving forward.

“We would love to host a national championship game here,” William Flinn, Executive Director of the Tournament of Roses, told the Times. “But we have to make sure it works for everybody.”

Bids for the games of 2018, 2019 and 2020 games will be awarded this year.

The Rose Bowl played host to four championship games in the 16-year cycle of the Bowl Championship Series from 1998 to 2013.

The championship game went to an independent bidding process, however, with the creation of the four-team College Football Playoff.

That put the Rose Bowl in a Super Bowl-like bidding competition against competing cities with newer and larger stadiums.

The first three College Football Playoff titles sites have been awarded to Arlington, Texas;  Glendale, Ariz., and Tampa, Fla.

Host cities are required to underwrite the bid, which may range from $13 million to $20 million, in the next bid cycle.

The Tournament of Roses is a nonprofit organization.

“We’re not going to put a bid out on a hope and a prayer,” Flinn said.

In return for the game, a host city must guarantee 10,000 hotel rooms and provide other perks, such as VIP transportation and parties.

AT&T Stadium in Arlington, which last season played host to the first title game, has 300 luxury suites compared to 54 for the Rose Bowl.

“Our structure is not compatible with the bid requirements at this point,” Flinn said.

Flinn said the Rose Bowl is working with Pasadena and Los Angeles officials in hopes of some day making a unified bid for a future game.

“This is an iconic stadium,” Flinn said. “We know how to put on a college football game.”

In the new 12-year arrangement, the Rose Bowl plays host to a national semifinal game every third season. The years in between feature a traditional matchup of Pac-12 Conference and Big Ten Conference champions unless either champion is lost to the four-team playoff.

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FOR THE RECORD

9:29 a.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that the Pac-12 and Big 12 play in the traditional matchup of the Rose Bowl.

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The Rose Bowl played host to one of the first semifinal games last season and will next play host to a semifinal game Jan. 1, 2018.

A downside of the new playoff system was the possibility of the Rose Bowl not hosting another title game.

Interestingly, the current playoff would not have been possible had the Rose Bowl not agreed to join the BCS in 1998.

That allowed college football to create a system to pair the top two teams in a title game.

Before 1998, the Pac 12 and Big Ten champions were contractually bound to the Rose Bowl, which in some years prevented a No.1 vs. No. 2 matchup.

The BCS was a ranking system that used polls and computers to determine the participants. The Rose Bowl’s tradeoff for sometimes losing the Pac-12 and/or Big Ten Conference champion to the BCS title game was getting to play host to that game four times.

The Rose Bowl played host to title games after the seasons of 2001, 2005, 2009 and 2012.

The game of January 2006, a 41-38 Texas victory over USC, is considered one of the greatest games in college history.

The Rose Bowl is convinced its stature and history still makes it a viable championship option.

“That has to be matched against other venues,” Flinn said.

Newer NFL venues, however, such Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, are expected to aggressively compete for future title games.

Proposed NFL stadiums in Los Angeles, in Carson and/or Inglewood, might also be interested in bidding.

“Certainly we know there is going to be a list of future host candidates,” Flinn said.

Copyright © 2016, Los Angeles Times
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