December 21, 2012
Stanford football fans near and far catch Rose Bowl fever
On New Year's Day, 39,000 Stanford fans will take their seats at the 99th Rose Bowl Game in Pasadena. In addition, alumni and other fans have organized viewing parties in 20 U.S. states, Washington, D.C., and London.
By Kathleen J. Sullivan
Stanford Head Coach David Shaw and other Cardinal fans celebrate winning the Pac-12 Championship on Nov. 30. With the victory the Cardinal earned a trip to the 99th Rose Bowl Game. (Photo: Don Feria / stanfordphoto.com)
With 39,000 tickets sold, the Cardinal rooting section at the Rose Bowl Game on New Year's Day in Pasadena will be the university's largest bowl game attendance.
"I'm extremely proud of our Stanford alumni and all members of the Stanford community for their willingness to travel and support our team," said David Shaw, Stanford's head football coach. "For years, the talk was that Stanford fans don't travel to bowl games. We have blown that out of the water."
In recent years, an increasing number of Stanford fans have followed its football teams to post-season bowl games: more than 4,000 at the 2009 Sun Bowl in Texas; more than 15,000 at the 2011 Orange Bowl in Florida; and more than 20,000 at the 2012 Fiesta Bowl in Arizona.
"Now we are looking forward to an unprecedented convergence of loud and proud Cardinal faithful at the Rose Bowl game," said Shaw, who was named Pac-12 Coach of the Year in 2012 for the second year in a row. "I cannot wait to experience the biggest Stanford party ever in Pasadena on New Year's Day."
The cheering will actually begin the day before, when the Stanford Alumni Association (SAA) hosts an afternoon pep rally in downtown Los Angeles for the Cardinal faithful. The pep rally, which will be held at L.A. Live in downtown Los Angeles, is free and open to the public.
The Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band, known for its high-spirited performances, will perform at the pep rally – and where the band goes, so goes the Stanford Tree, the band's mascot.
The Stanford Band, which is expected to include about 300 students and alumni, will join other bands, magnificent floral floats and high-stepping equestrians in the Rose Parade on New Year's Day. The band also will perform before the game – kickoff is at 2:10 p.m. Pacific Time – and during halftime.
The SAA has sold all 15,000 tickets to its tailgate party – the largest tailgate in the school's history.
As the Rose Bowl Stadium fills with fans wearing Cardinal, alumni – likely also wearing red attire – will fill private homes, sports bars and restaurants across the country to root for the football team, which will battle the University of Wisconsin Badgers. The Cardinal last met the Badgers in the 2000 Rose Bowl.
Alumni have organized viewing parties in 20 states and Washington, D.C., and have posted invitations on the Stanford Rose Bowl Game Viewing Parties page. Alumni also have organized a viewing party in London, at the Jetlag Sports Bar.
"We expect alumni to organize at least 50 viewing parties," said Linda Reed, the SAA's associate director of alumni relations planning and marketing. "I found out that ESPN International carries the Rose Bowl Game broadcast. We may see a few more international venues crop up in the near future."
The SAA also has organized "Stanford Huddles," no-host events at bars and restaurants in Pasadena, Los Angeles, Beverly Hills and Santa Monica.
Anthony Travel, Stanford's official bowl travel partner, sold all of its 888 two-night and three-night land tour packages, which include hotel accommodations, tailgate admission and commemorative Rose Bowl souvenirs. The travel agency also sold 586 discounted hotel rooms to Cardinal fans.
In recent weeks, Stanford University Libraries also has caught Rose Bowl fever, publishing a web page of Stanford's Rose Bowl History with artifacts from University Archives.
The collection includes more than 100 images, including photos from the first Rose Bowl in 1902, when Stanford played Michigan. The new webpage includes a program from Stanford's 1952 game against Illinois and a roster from its 1941 game against Nebraska.
Stanford is 5-6-1 in 12 previous appearances in the Rose Bowl Game, including a 17-9 loss to Wisconsin in its last appearance in 2000. The Cardinal earned its Rose Bowl berth by defeating UCLA, 27-24, in the 2012 Pac-12 Football Championship Game at Stanford Stadium on Nov. 30. The Badgers earned their berth by defeating Nebraska in the 2012 Big Ten Football Championship Game, 70-31, on Dec. 1.