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Sydney’s ANZ Stadium to Host Opening Match Of 2016 US College Football Season

  • University of California Golden Bears v University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors at Stadium Australia on Sat 27 Aug
  • First-ever US College Football game in Sydney and the first American Football action in Aus since 1999
  • Stadium Australia game will be broadcast live in the US, showcasing Sydney to a massive TV audience
  • Tickets on sale to interstate fans 11am Thursday 3 December and NSW-based fans 10am Monday 7 December at 10am via Ticketek

Arthur Stanley and Julian Keith

SYDNEY has secured one of the hottest sporting events in the world with the University of California Golden Bears to play the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors in the opening game of the 2016 National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) College Football Championships at Stadium Australia.

The two famous American colleges will contest the first-ever regular-season match played in Sydney on Saturday 27 August, with the College football blockbuster to be televised live in an event that will showcase Sydney throughout the US.

Tickets go on sale to interstate fans 11am Thursday 3 December and NSW-based fans 10am Monday 7 December. Click here.

TEG and TLA Worldwide, in conjunction with Destination NSW – the premier tourism and major events agency of the NSW Government – have secured the event that will double as the Sydney College Football Cup.

The announcement of the US college football spectacular continues a phenomenal recent run of major events of international significance at Stadium Australia – following on from the AFC Asian Cup football tournament, visits by EPL giants Tottenham Hotspur and Chelsea, concerts by AC/DC and Taylor Swift and the recently-announced Liverpool Legends football classic featuring superstar Steven Gerrard.

It will be the first American Football event staged in Australia since 1999, when the Denver Broncos played the San Diego Chargers in an American Bowl match at Stadium Australia in front of a heaving crowd of 73,811.

For all the event details head here.

NSW Minister for Trade, Tourism and Major Events and Minister for Sport, Stuart Ayres, said the American Football event would provide a fantastic afternoon of entertainment, a huge live broadcast audience and a significant boost to the NSW economy.

“The University of California and the University of Hawaii have well recognised and established football programs which will ensure that this game delivers all the excitement and atmosphere of college football to Sydney. Both Universities have enormous followings in the USA, and thousands of fans from across Australia and around the world will travel to our State to watch this opening round game,” Mr Ayres said.

“The match on 27 August 2016 at Stadium Australia is anticipated to attract more than 15,000 domestic and international visitors to Sydney – an influx which is estimated to inject more than $10 million in visitor expenditure into the economy.

“Sydney is globally recognised as a destination for world-class sporting events. Sydney has been named as a World Festival and Events City six years in a row by the International Festivals & Events Association.

“The NCAA’s decision to schedule a regular-season game in Sydney highlights the continuing allure of the city to international sports looking to showcase their product on the world’s stage.

“The game will be broadcast live in the United States and will be the only NCAA competition match that is played on that day, which will give our State fantastic exposure across the entire nation,” he said.

The University of California Golden Bears are based in Berkeley, California, and play in the Pacific 12 Conference. They have a rich football history, winning five NCAA National Championships since their inception in 1916.

The University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors are based in Honolulu, Hawaii and play in the Mountain West Conference. Like the University of California, they play in Division I of the NCAA tournament, with their football program operating since 1909.

Division One of the NCAA Football competition contains 127 universities across the USA, split into conferences based on their geographical location. The match will be an official NCAA season fixture, with the result counting towards each team’s conference rankings.

Destination NSW Chief Executive Officer Sandra Chipchase said the event would give Sydney and Australia a first-hand experience of the excitement of college football.

“College football is hugely popular in the USA, with last year’s inaugural College Football Playoff Championship Game between Ohio State and Oregon attracting more than 30 million TV viewers. Both Cal Berkeley and the University of Hawaii will be bringing their fans, cheerleaders, mascots and marching bands so it promises to be a unique experience for any sports fan and I encourage everyone to book their trip to Sydney to be a part of it,” she said.

TEG CEO, Geoff Jones, and TLA Worldwide Chairman, Bart Campbell, said they were excited to bring such an iconic event to Sydney.

“To have two such proud and well supported college teams opening the NCAA season in Sydney, will provide fans an amazing opportunity to attend what is always a highly-anticipated event in the US sporting calendar,” Jones said.

“With both colleges bringing their fans, cheerleaders and mascots out from the US, Australians will not only have the opportunity to see two highly regarded teams compete for competition points, they will also witness what promises to be a truly unique experience,” Campbell added.

You can guarantee a premium seat to this College Football spectacular – and every event at the Stadium – by becoming an Stadium Australia Member. To enquire about Stadium Australia Membership, click here.

Or impress and indulge your clients with Stadium Australia’s Official Hospitality packages. Choose between a Private Suite, Zone box or a table of 10 in our Trophy Room to entertain your best clients. Enquiries here.


  • College Football is the third most watched sport in USA on TV
    • 74.81 million Americans watched a college football match last season
  • College Football has over 103 million fans
  • The average home crowd of University of California Golden Bears in 2014 was 47,675
  • The capacity of Aloha Stadium, Rainbow Warriors’ home ground is 50,000
  • The capacity of California Memorial Stadium, Cal Bears’ home ground is 63,000
  • University of Hawaii football side was founded in 1909
  • University of California, Berkeley are 5 x National Champions, 14 x conference champions
  • University of Hawaii are 4 x conference champions
  • The two teams have faced off four times in their history, with the record sitting at two wins each.
  • 4 Australians have played college football for University of Hawaii (Scott Harding, Colin Scotts, Mat McBriar, Alex Dunnachie)
  • Australian former NFL Punter, David Lonie, attended the University of California, Berkeley
  • The TV audience for the 2014 National Championship was 24 million. This is in comparison to 18 million watching the 2013 NBA Finals and 15 million for The World Series.
  • College Football Revenue in 2014 was $3.4 billion
  • Marshawn Lynch (Seattle Seahawks) and Aaron Rodgers (Green Bay Packers) are both from University of California Golden Bears
  • Four time Super Bowl champion, Jesse Sapolu (San Francisco 49ers) is from University of Hawaii Rainbow Warriors
  • The last American Football game in Australia was the 1999 American Bowl between the Denver Broncos and San Diego Chargers at Stadium Australia (Sydney’s Olympic Stadium)

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