By Sandra G. Leon
One of San Diego’s biggest year-end sporting events was canceled today just hours before it was scheduled to begin.
The Holiday Bowl, which was scheduled to be played at Petco Park, was canceled after an undisclosed number of UCLA players tested positive for COVID-19.
The game between UCLA and North Carolina State, would have been the first football game ever played at Petco Park. The Holiday Bowl was held at Qualcomm Stadium in Mission Valley for 42 years.
The canceled game is now the fifth Bowl game to be canceled due to COVID, including the Arizona, Fenway, Military, and Hawaii Bowls, and two other Bowl games, the Gator and Sun Bowls, were forced to change teams because of the virus.
Game organizers first announced they were looking for a team to replace UCLA in the game, but later confirmed that the game was completed canceled.
The related Holiday Bowl Parade was still held earlier in the day, with Padres pitcher Joe Hargrove riding as the parade’s Grand Marshall. The marching bands for UCLA and North Carolina State both marched in the parade. The decision to cancel the game was made after the parade had ended.
Both the parade and game were canceled last year due to COVID.
The Holiday Bowl is currently between a PAC-12 and an Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) team. Previously, the Big10 conference supplied a team to play against a PAC-12 team.
San Diego Bowl Game Association and the Padres announced a deal in July allowing games to be played at Petco Park for a minimum of five years. The deal was dependent on approval from the San Diego City Council approval because the City previously banned football games being played at the downtown baseball stadium as part of the original arrangement when the ballpark was built.
In addition to baseball games, Petco Park also hosts concerts, monster truck and motorcycle racing, soccer matches, and rugby games.