Rose Bowl Game History
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In 1902, the Tournament of Roses® Association decided to enhance the day's festivities by adding a football game. Stanford University accepted the invitation to take on the powerhouse University of Michigan, but the west coast team was flattened 49-0 and gave up in the third quarter. The lopsided score prompted the Tournament to give up football in favor of Roman-style chariot races.
In 1916, football returned to stay and the crowds soon outgrew the stands in Tournament Park. William L. Leishman, the Tournament's 1920 President, envisioned a stadium similar to the Yale Bowl, the first great modern football stadium. He enlisted the help of architect Myron Hunt and builder William A Taylor, and together they made plans for a stadium in Pasadena's Arroyo Seco area.
The original stadium, a 57,000-seat horseshoe open on the south end, cost $272,198.26. The Tournament financed the project by offering ten-year subscription tickets for $100 each. Once it was completed, it was deeded to the city of Pasadena.
Local newspaper reporter Harlan "Dusty" Hall, who also served as the Tournament's press agent, came up with the name "Rose Bowl" for the stadium, and on January 1, 1923, the Tournament held its first football game there.
The stadium grew with the Rose Bowl Game's popularity. In 1928, the south end was filled in, increasing the seating capacity to 76,000. Further enlargements took place in 1932 (83,677), 1949 (100,807) and 1972 (104,696). The current seating capacity is approximately 93,000, although stadium room was found for a record crowd of 106,869 on January 1, 1973.
The Rose Bowl Stadium has been the site of many "famous firsts" throughout its history, including the first wirephoto transmission of a bowl game (in 1925), the first transcontinental radio broadcast of a sporting event (in 1927, on NBC), the first Los Angeles telecast of a college football game (in 1948, on KTLA), the first national telecast of a college football game (in 1952, on NBC), the first coast-to-coast color telecast of a college football game (in 1962, on NBC), the first satellite television broadcast to Europe of a college football game (1968), and the first live satellite telecast of a bowl game to the Far East (in 1978). The first live Spanish-language broadcast of the game took place in 1988, and in 1989, the Tournament of Roses celebrated the Rose Bowl Game's 75th anniversary.
Nicknamed "The Granddaddy of Them All®" the Rose Bowl Game has been a sellout attraction every year since 1947. That year's contest was the first game played under the Tournament's exclusive agreement with the Big Ten and Pacific Coast Conferences. (The Pacific Coast Conference's name was changed to Pacific-8 in 1968, and to Pacific-l0 in 1978.) The 1998 Rose Bowl Game was the 52nd anniversary of that agreement, the longest standing tradition of any collegiate conference and a bowl association.
Following the 1998 regular season Big Ten and Pac-10 Teams will be eligible to compete for the national championship in an arrangement with the Bowl Championship Series. The Rose Bowl hosted the National Championship Game in 2002.