No fans allowed for Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl due to COVID-19

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Two of college football's preeminent bowl games will not allow fans to attend when they kick off early next year.

The Rose Bowl, one of the College Football Playoff semifinal games, and Fiesta Bowl made their announcements Thursday.

The Tournament of Roses said it requested special permission for a limited number of fans or select number of guests of both teams to be in attendance for the Rose Bowl, which will be played on New Year's Day in Pasadena, California, but was denied because of COVID-19 restrictions imposed by the state, county and city of Pasadena.

"While we are disappointed that the Rose Bowl Game will not be played in front of spectators, we are pleased that we are still able to hold the game this year, continuing the 100-year plus tradition of The Granddaddy of Them All,'' said David Eads, executive director and CEO of the Tournament of Roses. "We continue to work closely with health department officials and the Rose Bowl Stadium to provide the safest possible environment for our game participants.''

The Fiesta Bowl, which will be played Jan. 2 at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, won't allow fans but will allow families of the teams playing to attend.

In a release, the Fiesta Bowl said the decision not to allow fans in the game was made by "local jurisdictions," which based its judgment on recommendations from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19.

"While we are disappointed that the PlayStation Fiesta Bowl will not have fans in the stadium to enjoy Bowl Season this year, we respect the decisions made by the local authorities," said Mike Nealy, the executive director of the Fiesta Bowl Organization. "Our staff was incredibly diligent to put health and safety measures in place that earned the endorsement from the Governor's Office for policies that aligned with recommendations for reducing COVID-19 transmission risk. Ultimately, we all need to do our part to ensure the health and safety of our community to reduce the spread of COVID-19."

The state of Arizona has seen an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases over the past month, peaking on Nov. 23 with 5,724, according to the ADHS. Arizona was down to less than 600 in a day in mid-September.

Los Angeles County is under a stay-home order that took effect this week and runs through mid-December. Pasadena has its own public health department and can set its own rules, but has mostly followed the county's lead during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Sugar Bowl, the other CFP semifinal, Orange Bowl and College Football Playoff Championship Game, which will be played at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami, are still planning on having fans in a limited capacity, according to their respective websites.

There are three bowls played in Arizona. The Arizona Bowl, which is played New Year's Eve in Tucson, announced in October that it won't have fans. A decision has yet to be announced about the Guaranteed Rate Bowl, which will be played Dec. 26 at Chase Field in downtown Phoenix.

Thus far, 10 bowl games have been canceled due to the pandemic.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.