The Gotham Bowl was a short lived college football postseason bowl game played during the early 1960s. It operated like most bowl games, extending invitations to colleges it felt were deserving and then playing the game after the season had ended. It was televised and had national advertising, and the proceeds from the game were used to help the March of Dimes charity. It started in 1960, but by 1964 it was gone. The main reason attributed to the failure of the Gotham Bowl is that most bowl games are held in warm weather locations following the college football season and many teams and fans had little desire to play or watch a late December football game in New York City.
Here is a look back at some fun and interesting facts about New York City’s Gotham Bowl.
-Though the first game was scheduled for 1960, it never happened. Oregon State was invited to the game, but it was canceled when an opponent could not be found.
-In 1961, the Gotham Bowl had Baylor winning over Utah State by the score of 24-9.
-The 1961 Gotham Bowl was played in New York City’s historic Polo Grounds just three years before the famous stadium would be demolished.
-The attendance at the 1961 game was just 15,000.
-The 1962 Gotham Bowl featured the Nebraska Cornhuskers beating the Miami Hurricanes 36-34.
-The second Gotham Bowl was played at Yankee Stadium.
-Bad luck continued as the 1962 New York City newspaper strike left much of the city with no coverage or promotion of the game.
-ABC’s Wide World of Sports aired the 1962 Gotham Bowl.
-With little promotion and a game time temperature of just 14 degrees, the 1962 Gotham Bowl had an attendance of just over 6,000. More than 5,000 tickets were given away so that the stands would look more full.
-The main reason credited in 1962 for the declaration that it would be the last Gotham Bowl played was the low attendance.