Rose Bowl A Tradition

            On any given New Years Day, perhaps the most valuable piece of real estate in the entire nation is the football stadium where the Rose Bowl game is played in Pasadena, California.  Without a doubt, the Rose Bowl is the site of one of the most well known college football games each year.

Perhaps less well-known is the fact that the Stadium itself is listed as a National Historic Landmark. The National Historic Landmark Database is maintained by the National Park Service.  According to a National Park Service National Historic Landmarks update in 2004, National Historic Landmarks are designed to provide  “reflection upon how we Americans came to be what we are today.” (For more information about National Historic Landmarks, point your browser to http://www.nps.gov/history/nhl/).

According to the web site maintained by the National Park Service, the Historic significance of the Rose Bowl stadium is described as follows: “Since 1922, this has been the site of the earliest and most‑renowned post‑season college football “bowl” games. Held every New Years Day since 1916, the Rose Bowl also commemorates the civic work of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses Association, the sponsor of the annual flower festival, parade, and bowl game. Additionally, this was one of the venues of the 1932 and 1984 Olympics.”

Following is an excerpt from the official Rose Bowl web site at www.RoseBowl.com: “This uniquely American event began as a promotional effort by Pasadena’s distinguished Valley Hunt Club. In the winter of 1890, the club members brainstormed ways to promote the “Mediterranean of the West.” They invited their former East Coast neighbors to a mid‑winter holiday, where they could watch games such as chariot races, jousting, foot races, polo and tug‑of‑war under the warm California sun. The abundance of fresh flowers, even in the midst of winter, prompted the club to add another showcase for Pasadena’s charm: a parade would precede the competition, where entrants would decorate their carriages with hundreds of blooms. The Tournament of Roses was born.”

The popularity of the annual college football bowl game increased over the years.  As a result, there came a time when the game sold out, and some of the hopeful observers were disappointed.  One of these situations ended up in a California legal case.  At one point in time, the University of California at Los Angeles was selected to represent the Pacific Coast Conference in the annual Rose Bowl game.  Radio and newspaper advertisements were made which announced that there would be a public sale of 7500 admission tickets to be conducted at the Rose Bowl stadium.  Several hopeful observers came to the box office, and while waiting in line were given numbered “identification stubs,” which were to provide them with the opportunity to purchase two admission tickets to the game.  A total of 3,350 “identification stubs” were distributed, but after only 1,500 tickets were sold, the box office closed and announced that all of the available tickets had been sold.  The result was that most of the persons holding the “identification stubs” were never able to purchase tickets to the game.

Four of those persons who stood in line and received “identification stubs” filed suit for $100 in damages.  They each claimed that they had been “wrongfully refused” admission to the Rose Bowl game.  They filed the suit as a “class action” on behalf of all of those who had received “identification stubs” and stood in line but had been refused admission to the game.

The Court held that under the specific facts of this case, the complaint amounted to nothing more than an “invitation to such persons as may be interested to join with them in this action seeking relief.”  The Court did not allow the lawsuit to proceed as a class action.  The case is reported as  Weaver v. Tournament of Roses Association (1948) 32 Cal. 2d 833.

The scramble for Rose Bowl tickets has been around for a long time.  The year when this case was decided?  1948 – just three years after the end of World War II.

The moral of the story?  Get your tickets early.

Copyright 2017 ROBERT B. JACOBS