San Diego will no longer host Poinsettia Bowl, focus only on Holiday Bowl

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SAN DIEGO – Organizers of San Diego’s two college football post-season games announced Wednesday that they will drop the Poinsettia Bowl after a dozen years to focus on the Holiday Bowl.

With uncertainty over where to stage the Holiday Bowl in the future — with the Chargers moving to Los Angeles and the city considering when to shutter Qualcomm Stadium — they said negotiations are underway to move the game to Petco Park, the Padres’ downtown home.

The Holiday Bowl has also struggled to find a title sponsor recently, and was bailed out the past two years by a local firm, National Funding.

“College football and the bowl game structure has gone through major changes through the years and our board feels the time is right to focus our efforts on one post-season game,” said Mark Neville, executive director of the San Diego Bowl Game Association.

“The San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl staged exciting match-ups for more than a decade and we were one of the few cities to host two bowl games,” he aid.

The Poinsettia Bowl will go out on a strong competitive note after the 2016 game, in which Brigham Young held off a rally by Wyoming to win 24-21.

The bowl’s high points, however, came in a three-year period from 2008- 10, which featured TCU’s 17-16 victory over Boise State in which the contestants entered the game with a combined record of 22-2, a 37-27 win by Utah over Cal, followed by San Diego State’s triumphant return to the post- season after many years of obscurity, in a 35-14 conquest of Navy.

Losing the Poinsettia Bowl will be a major blow to the Mountain West conference, which annually supplied one of the entrants and was arguably the second-best landing spot for the league’s teams behind the Las Vegas Bowl, which takes the champion.

Neville said the Holiday Bowl will be held at Qualcomm Stadium for at least a couple of more years. Petco Park is unable to accommodate football in its current configuration, and the Padres have talked with architects about needed changes.

On Monday, a group of investors proposed replacing Qualcomm Stadium with a 20,000-30,000-seat soccer venue that could also be home to SDSU’s football team. The proposed capacity would be too small for the Holiday Bowl, and even SDSU officials have suggested they would need a larger facility.

“The Holiday Bowl brings tourism, economic activity and pride to San Diego year after year — focusing resources on just one event will ensure that the Holiday Bowl remains a top-tier attraction,” San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer said.

“I am excited to have started discussions this week with the Bowl Game Association and the Padres about the possibility of bringing the Holiday Bowl to Petco Park,” Faulconer said. “We remain fully committed to supporting this fantastic game.”

Neville added that the association is still committed to hosting a regular season football contest between Navy and Notre Dame next year at Qualcomm Stadium.