When Christmas and Hanukkah wrap up, San Diegans have another seasonal event waiting to kick off: The 43rd annual SDCCU Holiday Bowl. The gridiron game is coming to Petco Park on Wednesday, Dec. 28, at 5 p.m.
The University of Oregon Ducks will face the University of North Carolina Tar Heels at the Padres’ home base. The venue signed a 5-year agreement to host the annual college football game, starting with 2021, but that game was canceled hours before kickoff due to COVID-19 cases among players.
So, the 2022 SDCCU Holiday Bowl will be the first football game ever played at Petco Park. The stadium practiced its transformation from ballpark to football field last year, which included laying 1.5-inch, football-grade turf, moving seats by first base, adding standing room space, and constructing bleachers on right field to increase the ballpark’s regular capacity by 7,000+ people to a total of ~50,000.
You may be wondering, why isn’t a San Diego team playing? The selection process can get complicated, but the SDCCU Holiday Bowl features teams from the Atlantic Coast and the Pac-12 conferences. No San Diego universities are full members of either — the SDSU Aztecs are in the Mountain West conference.
Pro tip: There will be traffic, but Metropolitan Transit System Trolleys will run every 15 minutes from the Blue, Green, and Orange lines.
Not a football person? The Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade (presented by Kaiser Permanente) — America’s largest balloon parade — inflates the fun. The procession begins at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 28, and marches down Harbor Drive in front of the San Diego Convention Center. Best of all, it’s free to watch in-person and will be available to stream on CBS 8+ and online.