After months of speculation, it’s finally official. The commitment has been made and the date is set – The 2016 College Football Opener is to be played in Australia.
That’s right, the 2016 opening of the NCAA Football season will be happening on Australian shores. The 27th of August 2016 will see the California Golden Bears (sometimes referred to a Berkley) facing off against the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Sydney’s ANZ Stadium.
And this is no small game for Australian fans. Firstly, as The Roar has correctly pointed out, The University of Hawaii is technically our local team – geographically speaking. And then of course if you keep in mind the fact that the University of California is right on America’s West Coast, then I think it’s fair to say that from an Australian perspective, this is a local derby!
But there’s also the fact that the University of California has given birth to some of the NFL’s biggest stars. This includes Green Bay Packers’ quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Seattle Seahawks’ running back Marshawn Lynch, and Denver Broncos’ running back C.J. Anderson. (N.B. Anderson’s the guy who scored the winning touchdown against the Patriots in overtime this week.)
The University of Hawaii hasn’t been so successful over the previous few years and have only managed three wins overall this season. However, the opening game will welcome their new head coach, Nick Rolovich, who was a former quarterback and assistant coach at the university.
Whilst negotiations have been in place for over year, there was speculation that the game could take place in at Melbourne’s Etihad Stadium. But according the ABC, Sydney managed to seal the game in what was described as a coup by the NSW State Government.
This will be first college football game ever played in Sydney. There have previously only been two other college games played in Australia, and both were in Melbourne in 1987 and 1985. It will also mark only the second time the Golden Bears have played outside the US, with the first time being in 1987 when they had a 17-17 draw against Washington State in Japan.
If you want tickets, well there’s a staggered release. If you’re a member of Telstra’s reward program, ‘Telstra Thanks,’ then you have exclusive access to tickets between the 9am 1st of December till 9am the 3rd of December – you will however be charged a $10 premium (thanks Telstra). If you’re outside the state of NSW then you can access tickets from 9am the 3rd of December, and for everyone else tickets go on sale on the 7th December at 10am.
Tickets start $56.07 + booking fee for Bronze Level seating, and go up $402.70 for exclusive access to The Locker Room. This give you exclusive access to the locker room throughout the night (I assume this the actual locker rooms and not some function room), a 90 minute cocktail party, food and beverages, an exclusive bar, and probably anything else you expect from premium priced tickets. For more information, check out Ticketek.