Bidding for Army-Navy Begins

The Capital is reporting that bidding is set to begin for future Army-Navy games:

Details of the request for bids are still being worked out. But cities may have the chance to bid on seven years of the Army-Navy game, about 2018 to 2025, Gladchuk said.

Source: Cities sought to host Army-Navy football game in 2018 and beyond – Capital Gazette

Bids to host the game were last sought in 2009, when Baltimore, Washington, and Philadelphia were selected over 15 competing cities. Twelve cities made bids to host in 2003, including Seattle, Houston, San Antonio, Chicago, and three bids from Florida.

I found a couple of quotes in the story to be interesting:

Gladchuk told the Naval Academy’s Board of Visitors that organizers of “America’s game” will request bids in December from cities.

“It’d be great to have the game in a few more (cities),” he said.


“People are interested in it, very much so. We want to make sure it’s in different stadiums around the country,” said Boo Corrigan, Army’s director of athletics.

Bids have come from all over the country in the past, but the logistics of moving the game to a less traditional location have been prohibitive. The cost of moving both the Brigade of Midshipmen and the Corps of Cadets would be enormous, and now that the game is played a week later, it falls right in the middle of final exams. It appears, though, that both sides are willing to entertain ways to make it work.

Well, maybe. One of the benefits of entertaining 15 bids is that the competition forces everyone to make their best possible offer. If potential bidders see that the same few cities are awarded the game every time, the bids will stop coming. It’s in both Army and Navy’s best interest to keep these cities motivated to submit bids, and one could argue that these comments are only meant to serve those ends.

On the other hand, there might be something to them this time, especially in Navy’s case. The Midshipmen, now that they are members of the American Athletic Conference, are locked into more or less the same schedule every year. As an independent they played everywhere from Detroit to Honolulu, but their ability to do so is limited now. Moving high-profile neutral site games is one way to maintain Navy’s coast-to-coast tradition. Navy has already announced future Notre Dame games to be played in Jacksonville and San Diego. Moving the Army game isn’t without precedent either, as the game was played in Pasadena in 1983.

There’s a balancing act to consider here as well. Is it more beneficial to move around the country, or is it better for the game’s brand to have it linked to one city? I think there are advantages to the game having a traditional home like Philadelphia, but at the same time you don’t want the city to take our showcase for granted (like, say, by putting it in a dilapidated stadium with railings held up with duct tape, or by scheduling cardiologist conventions at the same time). I wouldn’t be surprised to see a combination of both. While I prefer Philadelphia as the game’s natural home, Baltimore goes all-out for Army-Navy and has been a tremendous host. And wouldn’t it be fun to see the game return to Chicago for the 100th anniversary of the original “Game of the Century?”

Ratings for the game are on the rise, so hopefully the same can be said about interest in hosting it.

15 thoughts on “Bidding for Army-Navy Begins

  1. WBOJ

    I think having it in different locations would certainly be welcomed. I saw my first Army Navy game on a TV set at the factory where my dad worked building cathode ray tubes in Lansdale, PA.

    I have attended about a dozen of these games beginning in the late 1950’s back in high school in Eastern PA. All have been in Philadelphia except for one in DC a couple of years back. My last attendance was in a blizzard in Philadelphia two years ago. However I received a communique from my chief of staff that we will not be buying tickets for anymore of these games in the North.

    Having ridden those buses from Bancroft to Philly 4 times as a Mid, I recognize the logistical issues!

    I think the best solution would be set up some games along major passenger rail routes from the northeast heading south and or southwest. These routes pass through or near major sports venues up and down the east coast all the way to Miami and also include Orlando, Jacksonville, Tampa, Atlanta, Charlotte, et. al.

    Some routes head west also and include Detroit, Indianapolis and other places with indoor stadiums. Where mid December weather would not be an issue.

    The NFL moves their signature game around to enhance their brand and that is something we should do. Notre Dame has also done this for years. We even help them. Amtrak might participate in a way that enhances their brand also and subsidize the effort. Cadets and Mids could stay/live in the trains/sleeping cars on near the site of the game if necessary when not traveling to and from by rail.

  2. Wonder what the minimum requirements are for a city to be competitive. i.e., stadium capacity, stadium age and amenities, living accommodations for Mids and Cadets, hotel capacity, attractions of the city and things to do there, willingness to cover or underwrite Brigade/Corps(e) transportation costs, etc.?

  3. To follow up: A new stadium is now under construction in Atlanta for the Falcons is expected to be finished for the 2017 season. It’ll have a capacity of 83,000 for the NCAA Playoff games the city already is bidding for. Amtrak could get the Brigade and Corps there by train overnight at far lower costs than by air. Hotels abound. If you can’t find something fun to do in Atlanta, you haven’t got a pulse ;-) Atlanta would certainly be a neat place for the game. (It’s only 150 miles away, too.) Fertile recruiting grounds, too.

    1. WBOJ

      Fritz, This is exactly what we need to do. I think any obstacles on the horizon can be worked out! I remember when active duty military rode the train at 50% off the regular fare. I do not know if Amtrak has any similar fares for military today. However, a group of interested parties should be able to work out a doable plan combining the City of Atlanta, Amtrak, the NFL, the Army & Navy, and the Academies involved. Money should not be the prime consideration. Value for all concerned should be prime. Obviously, enough money has to be raised to meet the financial costs involved without overlooking the intangible benefits for the Army and Navy, the city of Atlanta, Amtrak and all businesses involved or benefitting from the game. wboj

    2. USMC1999

      I agree Atlanta might be good, but there is no savings with train transport without subsidizing in some manner.
      air: BWI-ATL – $116 (on
      train: BWI-ATL – $208 round trip (

      also multiply all that by 8,000.
      Buses would be cheaper – but then the travel time might be prohibitive.

  4. WBOJ

    Amtrak rates vary for the same trip. The earlier you buy your ticket for a given trip the more economical they are. As you get closer to the date of your travel the more expensive they are.

    We have to be careful to choose the ticket price that applies when we buy in large allotments well in advance of the planned travel.


  5. bethel95

    Shoot, shipmates–we’re talking special, non-stop charter trains, here, not tickets on regular routes. Bulk rates apply, along with meals (and sleeper cars?). If Amtrak stepped up, this could be a PR goldmine for them.

    I can even envision pep rallies being organized at stations along the route–that would be a kick for the mids and woops and something different for the alumni in those areas, as well as local PR for the academies.

    Who knows, it might even be possible to organize study sessions on board trains as a way of addressing the academic concerns, with profs getting free transportation and tickets to the game.

    1. Anonymous

      “Who knows, it might even be possible to organize study sessions on board trains as a way of addressing the academic concerns, with profs getting free transportation and tickets to the game.”

      The Gouge Express ! …All Aboard.

  6. Anonymous

    Jacksonville is a great option, especially now that ND is going there next year. Stadium. Weather. Military airfields for transport. Atlanta would be a great option too.

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