Harvard-Yale football rivalry to shift to Fenway Park in 2018
One of the oldest rivalries in college football will be played at the oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball next season when Harvard and Yale meet for the 135th time. The Game will be staged in front of the Green Monster, as the Crimson and Bulldogs will play at Fenway Park on Nov. 17, 2018.
“The Harvard-Yale football game is a classic matchup, and Fenway Park is a beloved Boston landmark and classic in its own right,” said Boston’s mayor, Martin J. Walsh. “Boston looks forward to hosting Harvard, and all visitors, in 2018 for this iconic game.”
Next year also will mark the 50th anniversary of the epic 1968 clash between the Ivy League schools, which ended in a 29-29 tie after Harvard rallied from a 29-13 deficit in the final 42 seconds.
“It’s an honor to host one of the most prestigious rivalries in American collegiate athletics,” said Red Sox president and CEO Sam Kennedy.
Harvard will serve as the home team, as it was the Crimson’s turn to host The Game. It was held in New Haven earlier this month. One concern for next year will be in regard to tailgating. The contest typically sells out at Harvard Stadium, with the attendance for the 2016 matchup listed at 31,662. A festive pregame atmosphere surrounds the stadium, with alumni and fans assembling to enjoy food and drinks.
While the capacity will be slightly higher at Fenway Park — attendance for the Notre Dame-Boston College game in 2015 was listed at 38,686 — pregame gatherings would appear to be limited to Fenway area bars.
“Those details have not been completely ironed out yet,” said Harvard associate director of athletics Tim Williamson when asked about tailgating and parking. “There will be some more information to come out.”
The 2018 game will mark the third time in four years that college football is played at Fenway Park, beginning with BC-Notre Dame in 2015, and including three games featuring New New England teams earlier this month.
“Part of the reason we wanted to announce this now was because it’s close to a year out from the game,” said Williamson. “There are so many alumni events and things that surround this, so that way folks have an opportunity to plan. Plus, Fenway just had the other games there too.”
Harvard and Yale first met on Nov. 13, 1875. Yale leads the series, 67-59-8. The only rivalry in college football older than The Game is Yale’s annual meeting with Princeton, which began in 1873. In terms of games played, Harvard-Yale (134) ranks behind only Lafayette-Lehigh (153) and Yale-Princeton (141).
“I have been a Red Sox and Fenway Park fan since the 1967 pennant race,” said Harvard coach Tim Murphy. “To me, Fenway is a super fan experience, and I know our student-athletes will be very excited about playing our biggest rival at a sold-out Fenway Park.”
The Game represents the most prominent athletic contest between the Ivy institutions and is the season finale in football for both schools.
“We are very excited to face our historic rival at Fenway Park, a landmark of New England sports,” said Harvard athletic director Bob Scalise. “This will be a special experience for our student-athletes, student body, alumni and fans, and we are proud to partner with Fenway Sports Management for ‘The Game’ next year.”
The meeting at Fenway Park will mark the first time since 1912 — when it was played at Yale Field — that The Game is played at a location other than Harvard Stadium or Yale Bowl.
“We are excited to play next year’s game against Harvard at one of the most iconic venues in all of sports,” said Yale athletic director Tom Beckett. “Fenway Park will provide an incredible stage for one of college football’s most storied rivalries. This will be an experience our student-athletes, coaches, alumni, and fans will not soon forget.”
Kickoff time and ticket information will be announced at a later date. For further information fans can visit www.redsox.com/thegame.