This year’s Holiday Bowl will be unlike any other in its 44-year history. From the teams playing to the stadium itself, the 2022 Holiday Bowl in San Diego promises to be a unique experience for players, coaches and fans.
It will be first football game at Petco Park
Unfortunately, sports betting will not be part of the 2022 Holiday Bowl experience. Both California sports betting proposals were rejected by voters in November.
This year’s Holiday Bowl kicks off at 5 p.m. (PST) on Wednesday, Dec. 28. It takes place at Petco Park.
The University of Oregon (9-3) from the Pac-12 Conference takes on the University of North Carolina (9-4) from the ACC. The event will be the first football game in downtown San Diego’s Petco Park. An attempt to hold last year’s Holiday Bowl there did not happen because of COVID-19.
The game also marks a partnership between the San Diego County Credit Union Holiday Bowl and 101.5 KGB Sky Show. And at the end of the contest, spectators will enjoy a fireworks show.
Only one other ACC team has played in Holiday Bowl
Only once before did an ACC team play in the Holiday Bowl. In 1992, the Miami Hurricanes (then in the Big East, but now in the ACC) defeated San Diego State, 63-17. Meanwhile, the Pac-12 has been represented in every Holiday Bowl since 1998. Under a new agreement, the game will match teams from the ACC and Pac-12 through at least 2025.
Mark Neville, CEO of the Holiday Bowl, said he’s excited about the teams this year.
“We could not have asked for a more exciting matchup for the SDCCU Holiday Bowl at Petco Park, Fans can expect plenty of fireworks on and off the field Dec. 28 and an experience that is second to none. With the play on the field and the 10.5 KGB Sky Show after the game, it will be quite a night for San Diego sports fans.”
Pregame party takes place at Gallagher Square
Petco Park is situated in downtown San Diego between Seventh and 10th avenues south of J Street. The park opened in 2004, replacing Qualcomm Stadium as the home of the Padres. For the upcoming game, additional bleachers will be placed in right field and in standing-room-only areas, increasing the stadium’s capacity to nearly 50,000 people.
There’s also a pregame party scheduled for 2 p.m. at Gallagher Square, next to Petco Park. Also, the Holiday Bowl is hosting a tailgate party featuring local-brewed beer, a buffet and more fun, pre-game activities.
Game pits two 9-win teams against each other
This year’s Holiday Bowl matchup features the North Carolina Tar Heels and the Oregon Ducks. The Tar Heels come in with a 9-4 overall record and also won the ACC Championship.
The Oregon Ducks fared nearly as well, finishing their season at 9-3 and ranked 15th in the nation.
The Holiday Bowl will be the first time these two teams have played each other.
Oregon quick facts
- This will be the fourth Holiday Bowl for the Ducks; they last appeared in 2008, when they beat Oklahoma State, 42-31
- This is their 36th bowl game appearance and are 15-20 all time
- They have 13 PAC-12 conference championships
- Oregon has had 230 players drafted in the NFL and 54 consensus All-Americans
- The Ducks have won 691 games in its history
North Carolina quick facts
- This is their 31st bowl game appearance
- North Carolina has produced 15 consensus All-Americans
- Players drafted in the NFL: 247
- North Carolina has won 721 games in its history
Holiday Bowl quick facts
In 2018, Northwestern (Big Ten) defeated Utah (Pac-12) 31-20. The following year, Iowa (Big Ten) gutted USC (Pac-12), 49-24. The Holiday Bowl was canceled in both 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. BYU has enjoyed the most Holiday Bowl appearances with 11, followed by Texas, who’ve played in it five times.
If you’re going…
Tickets for the game start at $35 and can be bought on the Holiday Bowl website. Special deals are offered to groups of 10 or more. To learn more about the suites, hospitality, and opportunities to sit on the field, check out Padres.com/HolidayBowl.
Although developments in the ballpark district might make parking limited for the event, there will still be a number of parking options available surrounding Petco Park as well as stadium parking. It is strongly encouraged to pre-purchase parking.
Event organizers also recommend visitors take public transportation to the event in order to minimize traffic and parking delays. For easy transportation, visitors can take the MTS trolley and use their new regional fare system, PRONTO, which offers riders a better payment experience.
Several other attractions besides the game
Holiday Bowl Parade
The game won’t be the only show in town. There’ll be a variety of other events on display that day, like the Port of San Diego Holiday Bowl Parade presented by Kaiser Permanente, beginning 10 a.m. on game day.
Tagged as America’s largest balloon parade, the much-loved family event brings together world-class marching bands, magnificent floats, entertaining drill teams and a procession of enormous balloons. More than 100,000 spectators are expected to line San Diego’s scenic downtown bayside streets, and many more will watch on TV. Of course, no tickets are needed to view the show.
Holiday Bowl 5K Run/Walk
Parade festivities get underway with the annual Holiday Bowl 5K Run/Walk, which takes place along San Diego’s captivating harbor front. Finisher medals await all participants at the end of the event.
Snapdragon Bowl Bash
Another exhibition fans and spectators will be gleefully anticipating is the Snapdragon Bowl Bash, which runs the day before the game, from 5 to 8 p.m. A one-of-a-kind performance will be on exhibit as two university bands face off in a battle of the bands in the streets of downtown San Diego.
It will be the second time the Holiday Bowl hosts the Snapdragon Bowl Bash. It’s a time for locals and visiting fans to gather in the heart of “America’s Finest City” for free family entertainment, tasty eats, live music, giveaways and more.
Concert at Gallagher’s Square and other happenings
Also, the second annual concert benefiting Rady Children’s Hospital is due to take place in Gallagher Square. A donation of $5 from every ticket sold will be given to the hospital.
Additional features will include photo booths, interactive games, street performers, food & drink specials from participating restaurants and a photo op with the SDCCU Holiday Bowl Trophy.