Next year’s Big Game will not be leaving Memorial Stadium for Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara.
On Thursday, Cal Athletics Director Sandy Barbour released a statement that the Cal football team will not play its 2014 game against Stanford at the San Francisco 49ers’ brand-new stadium after fans and alumni reacted negatively to the possible move.
If both Cal and Stanford agreed on the 2014 Big Game relocation, Cal was to host the Big Game in 2015 and all future odd-numbered years. Since 1922, all Big Games on even-numbered years were played in Berkeley.
But after nearly a whole week of contemplation, Barbour chose not to accept the plan initially proposed by the 49ers.
“We studied a wide range of factors, including the competitive balance of our home schedule, the student-athlete experience and the gameday environment for our fans, as well as short- and long-term financial implications,” Barbour said. “Only then, after considering each of these factors, did we arrive at the conclusion that it is not in Cal’s best interest to move forward with the offer.”
Much of the negative reaction by the fans and alumni stemmed from Cal’s lack of sound financial rationale for the move and lack of communication with the donors and alumni. Several alumni argued that the move will have an overall negative impact financially due to Berkeley businesses losing out on thousands of potential customers on Big Game day.
“Sometimes you have to make it bigger than athletics,” Cal alumnus Ron Tiongco said.