USAA INKS 10-YEAR DEAL WITH ARMY/NAVY GAME

(AP Photo/ Journalist 1st Class James G. Pinsky)

The Army-Navy game will have a new look for the next decade as both military schools announced on Monday that USAA signed a 10-year agreement to be the presenting sponsor of the annual football game. USAA is no stranger to the military as the company has more than 6.8 million members who are connected in some fashion to the uniformed services. But is this a good deal for Navy sports? I say no.

This is not a good deal for Navy – and here is why. It is a GREAT deal for Navy. Sorry to those looking for me to start some controversy over commercializing America's game – but it's not going to happen, especially with the current state of the economy. Each day, sports fans are hearing about how colleges are cutting programs left and right because of the recent economic downturn. Even though financial details where not released, this partnership should help keep both academies in the black and thus not in a position where they have to cut some of the less lucrative but still popular sports at each school.

 

What makes this deal even more impressive is the choice to go with USAA. I would not be surprised if other companies could have easily outbid the financial services company, but according to both of the school's athletic directors, it was important to choose a company with close ties to the military.

 

"USAA has proven time and again to be a tremendous supporter of the intercollegiate athletic programs at both Army and Navy," said Army Director of Athletics Kevin Anderson. "We displayed great care in choosing the appropriate partner for this endeavor and we feel we selected the perfect organization to properly represent America's Game."

 

"We are proud to be able to team up with USAA for sponsorship of this cherished and respected event," said Naval Academy Director of Athletics Chet Gladchuk.  "Army, Navy and USAA will become synonymous over the next few years as we collectively accentuate the history, tradition and competitive spirit of this national treasure.  We are ecstatic that USAA and its 6.8 million members have joined our team."

 

USAA's chief was also celebrating the partnership.

 

"I know USAA's employees and members feel they have a personal stake in the Army-Navy game," said retired Army Maj. Gen. Joe Robles, USAA president and CEO. "Our company was founded by military members for military members, so it's an honor for us to work with the academies to secure the long-term success and visibility of America's Game."

 

Speaking of the phrase ‘America's Game'- I must have missed something along the way because I do not remember this phrase ever being attached in any official capacity with the Army-Navy game. However, West Point spokesperson Bob Beretta said that the game has been called that for a number of years. A quick Google search of ‘America's Game' revealed that none of the most popular returns (100 million or so) were associated with the Army-Navy game. Now that USAA is onboard and the phrase ‘America's Game' is part of the official logo, I think it might catch on some more. The later date in December will also help.

 

This year's game is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. EST, Saturday, Dec. 12 at Philadelphia's Lincoln Financial Field.  CBS Sports and American Forces Radio & Television will broadcast the game around the world.

 

 

NAVY FAN FEST – MEDIA DAY

 

Navy football fans will be able to celebrate the unofficial beginning of the 2009 season on Monday, August 3 from 4 – 6 p.m. at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium.

 

According to the Navy press release, fans will be able to watch the players go through their running test and then be able to get on the field for a variety of activities including one of the biggest inflatable structures I've ever seen – well, at least that is what they have had at the past two fan-fests. The first 250 kids will get a free t-shirt and if the sun is out, every kid without sunscreen will get free sunburn.

 

Of course GoMids.com will be covering the festivities including the press conference with Coach Niumatalolo as well as player interviews galore.

 

 

ARMY TO FACE NOTRE DAME AT YANKEE STADIUM IN 2010

 

In what was one of the worst kept secrets in the history of major college football announcements, Army announced this week that they will play Notre Dame at the new Yankee Stadium on November 20, 2010.

 

The announcement was made on Monday at Yankee Stadium with several dignitaries in attendance including Hal Steinbrenner, Managing General Partner of the New York Yankees.

 

According to the Army release, the 2010 match-up will mark the first college football game at the home of the Yankees since Grambling hosted Central State in the Whitney M. Young Urban Classic in 1987. Grambling lost that contest and I'm sure that Army is hoping that Notre Dame, who will be the home team in the contest, is as unfortunate of a host. The game will be something of an experiment for the Irish who have decided to outsource some of their future home games. This season, for example, Notre Dame will play a ‘home' game at the Alamodome against Washington State on Halloween.

 

In another small twist, NBC is planning on televising the game in primetime.

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