While there was talk initially about moving The Big Game to Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara when it opens next year, Cal Bears supporters quickly quashed the plan.
So Cal moved a big game there, instead.
The university announced Wednesday their home game against the Oregon Ducks, set for Oct. 24, 2014, will be played at the new facility that will be home to the San Francisco 49ers, primarily. (h/t CBSSports.com)
The Friday night game was to have been played at Memorial Stadium in Berkeley. Instead, it will be the first college football game to be played in the new stadium.
“I know that our players will embrace the chance to play Oregon at Levi’s Stadium next fall and I’m sure our fans will create a great atmosphere for our team,” Cal coach Sonny Dykes said. “This is a special opportunity to play in a stadium where the Super Bowl will be held in the near future and one that we feel can generate a tremendous overall experience for everyone involved.”
Of course, the announcement also cited about a million other reasons for the shift—the school said it expects to make as much as “a seven-figure dollar increase in incremental net revenue for the athletic department relative to a home game” at newly remodeled Memorial Stadium.
The announcement cited concerns athletic director Sandy Balfour and the athletic department had about the logistics of hosting a weeknight game on campus.
More money for the athletic department can’t be a bad thing, but given how much in terms of money, time and resources was put into the refitting of Memorial Stadium, it seems odd—and a little sad, truthfully—that the athletic department would opt out of a terrific opportunity to showcase the made-over stadium in front of a national prime time audience.
Of course, if the critics—multiplying by the day, it seems—have their way, it won’t be Balfour’s problem by next fall, anyway.