So it’s official: the first-ever bowl game in D.C. will be played at RFK Stadium on Dec. 20. The bowl’s name? The Eagle Bank Bowl. No Congressional Bowl. No George Washington Bowl. No Sarah Palin Bowl.
Eagle Bank, which completed a merger last week with Fidelity and Trust Bank to make it the largest community bank in Washington, ponied up for a four-year deal to be the bowl’s title sponsor. All parties were tight-lipped on the financial details,but the company does have at least one option year.
As previously reported, Navy will play the 9th place ACC team in this year’s game, assuming those teams win six gamess to become bowl-eligible.
There is a lot of buzz about why the bowl will be played at RFK Stadium instead of Nationals Park, as some had hoped. Bowl committee chairman Sean Metcalf said that they had been in talks with the Nationals, but that the committee needed to make a decision quickly in order to make sure there was time to sell tickets. In the end, they realized that RFK was a fine option, given that it was built for football and has a lot of tradition. The D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, meanwhile, said it never had a strong preference either way, since the city owns both facilities.
“Our interest is in making certain the game is a success,” DCSEC CEO Erik Moses said. “The fact that you have a football-ready stadium that’s hosted football for years and years and years, there’s no reconfiguration necessary, allof those things went into the decision-making process.”
The inability of the commission and bowl committee to strike a deal for Nationals Park, however, does underscore the difficulty the District will have in bringing big events to the ballpark. The new stadium’s lease allows the city to have 18 events there on non-gamedays. But the stadium lease does not allow the city to use the stadium for any event—like a football games—that would take over the ballpark infield.
“It’s challenging, it’ll be challenging,” Moses said. “There are other parts of the stadium we can use, it doesn’t necessarily have to be on the field. The Presidents Club is great, it’s a big facility. Now, will that have a bearing on the kinds of events we can bring? Absolutely it will. But hey, the [Nationals] can always waive that. If I were running a Major League Baseball team, I’d be concerned about the condition of my field as well.
“In some ways you end up competing with your tenant. We’ll do the best we can. We look forward to cooperating with them on certain things. But we’re not going to forget about RFK and the other facilities available to us.”