College Football Bowl Games San Diego
Football fan or no, the Holiday Bowl is one of San Diego’s signature events. Photo credit: @HolidayBowl, via Facebook

The Holiday Bowl has a new home, thanks to the Padres.

The team joined with the San Diego Bowl Game Association to bring the 43-year-old holiday tradition to Petco Park for at least the next five years.

The agreement begins with this year’s contest, between Pac-12 and ACC teams, in December.

“The Padres are excited to welcome the Holiday Bowl to Petco Park and keep this long-standing tradition where it belongs; in San Diego,” said Erik Greupner, the Padres’ CEO. “Petco Park is a world-class venue, and we are thrilled to welcome college football fans to what will be a truly unique bowl game experience.”

During its tenure in San Diego, the non-profit Holiday Bowl has benefitted the region’s economy, along with its tourism prospects.

Since 1978, it has generated $977 million dollars in total economic impact, with more than 819,000 nights secured at local hotels during what would otherwise be one of the slowest weeks in San Diego tourism.

With the COVID-19 pandemic – and as the Mission Valley stadium site was in the midst of redevelopment – the 2020 game was cancelled and its future in San Diego uncertain.

“The SDCCU Holiday Bowl has been a San Diego institution for more than four decades, and we are excited to partner with the Padres to continue building on our legacy in America’s Finest City,” said Mark Neville, CEO of the Holiday Bowl.

Mayor Todd Gloria, City Council President Jennifer Campbell and representatives from the San Diego County Credit Union (the game’s sponsor), the Pac-12, ACC, San Diego Tourism Authority and the Downtown San Diego Partnership, joined the Padres and Holiday Bowl officials for the announcement.

“The ACC is thrilled to be part of the SDCCU Holiday Bowl, and we look forward to having a team represent the conference in one of the premier postseason bowl games,” said ACC Commissioner Jim Phillips.

Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott called Petco Park “one of the great sporting venues across our region.”

Gloria noted that the agreement will “showcase our great city on a national stage and
bolster San Diego’s local economy.”

Hosting the Holiday Bowl at Petco Park will require City Council approval to amend the Joint Use Management Agreement (JUMA), a review slated to take place this summer.

If approved by City Council, the amendment would permit football to be played at Petco.

The Padres have begun planning and design efforts to accommodate the bowl game at Petco, with construction slated to begin after the Padres conclude their season.

Tickets for the Holiday Bowl will go on sale in September.