The fate of the 2021 Rose Bowl might be determined soon. Some were hoping it was going to be announced on Wednesday as ESPN is supposed to name a new official sponsor for the game, which is played in Pasadena, Calif.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Northwestern Mutual will no longer be the official sponsor of the game. Their $25-million deal, which was signed in 2015, has expired. The report says ESPN’s new deal could allow the game to stay in California this year, though it has been reported the College Football Playoff is considering the possibility of moving the game.
The Rose Bowl is scheduled to host one of the CFP’s semifinal games on Jan. 1. However, with California’s stringent pandemic regulations, which will not allow anyone to attend a sporting event, the CFP is thinking about moving the game because parents of the student-athletes would not be able to attend the game.
The Tournament of Roses and the city of Pasadena are trying to appeal the state’s ruling to allow parents to attend the game.
“As we said, and I think I may have mentioned to a couple people (on Monday), that’s very important to us, and we’re going to continue to monitor the situation,” CFP executive director Bill Hancock said. “We do plan to play at the Rose Bowl, and we’re just hoping that the state will allow the families to attend.”
If the game is moved, it will not be called the Rose Bowl, as the branding will stay in California.
If the Rose Bowl is played, it will likely be the destination for No. 3 Clemson if it is able to get past No. 2 Notre Dame in Saturday’s ACC Championship Game and qualify for the CFP for a sixth straight year. If that is the case, Clemson is concerned its players’ parents.
“We need to take care of those folks first, and we always do, regardless of what year it is or postseason event or bowl we got to,” Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich said on the Packer & Durham Show Thursday. “That is the trick as it relates to some of the games that are out there right now. We are under the understanding that the Rose Bowl and the restrictions in California have no one and that is really difficult for our players’ parents and coaches’ families, who put in an awful lot of work during the course of the year to be able to go and see a very, very important game.”
However, if California does not make an exception for the Rose Bowl and the game is able to be played this year thanks to a new sponsor, Clemson’s parents may not be able to see their sons play in the game.
“Like a lot of things in 2020, that is the way it is, and we have to adjust,” Radakovich said. “We are very transparent. We are very open with our fans. We communicate with them. They know what the situation is, as we had tickets, for example, (in the ACC Championship). We went through our IPTAY list and we were able to sell those tickets to the 800 or 900 hundred we had to sell. I am sure those people are incredibly happy to get them. But the others, they understand because it is just a very, very difficult year.”
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