Talks ongoing for new bowl at Marlins Park
As college football looks to expand its bowl lineup in a new cycle of contracts beginning with the 2014 season, there is continued interest in bringing another bowl game to Miami at the city's new baseball stadium, Marlins Park.
"We would love to host a bowl game," said Claude Delorme, the team's executive vice president for operations and events. "It makes sense, and we can make it work for both parties. The ballpark can host football or soccer, and I think it has the ability to be a very intimate setting."
College football has added several bowl games in baseball-only stadiums in the past decade, including current games like the Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium and the Beef 'O' Brady's Bowl at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Both came into existent with contracts with the Big East, which also had teams play in the International Bowl in Toronto when the game was played in the Rogers Centre. The Big East will soon begin a new existence as the American Athletic Conference, and commissioner Mike Aresco said in May that his league was looking into creating its own new bowl game with a home in south Florida.
Delorme said the discussions the Marlins have had about hosting a bowl game have been "preliminary" and "exploratory" in nature, and that "it's going to be a while before anything is decided." The American will officially launch Monday, though no announcement of its future bowl lineup is expected until later in summer at the earliest.
Delorme said Marlins Park, which can seat 37,000 for baseball, would have a capacity in the "low to mid-30s" for football, with additional seating available through temporary bleachers if necessary. As many as nine new sites are looking at potential bowl games, some in places as far-reaching as Nassau, Dublin and Dubai, but Delorme said he's encouraged by what he's seen, still early in the process of adding a game at his stadium.
"I think we're always optimistic in anything we evaluate," he said.