In September it was reported that a 2016 Cal-Hawaii game in Australia was a “strong likelihood.” Two months later, that strong likelihood has come to fruition.
Earlier Saturday, both Cal and Hawaii sent out releases confirming that the two football programs will square off in 2016 in Sydney. The game, which will be called the Sydney College Football Cup, will be played at the 83,500-seat ANZ Stadium in New South Wales that was built for the 2000 Summer Olympics.
“This is a once-in-a-lifetime type of experience for our student-athletes and an excellent opportunity to see and learn about another culture,” Cal head coach Sonny Dykes said in a statement. “We are proud to represent the University of California at this historic event. A great deal of hard work by many people has gone into making this a reality, and everyone associated with Cal Athletics is excited to take part in it.
“It is a great day for college football and all the fans of our sport. It shows the popularity college football is gaining, and we’re ready to help further introduce the sport to many more fans.”
This contest will be the first college football game to ever be played in Sydney and the first in Australia since games in Melbourne — Wyoming-UTEP in 1985 and BYU-Colorado State in 1987.
Cal has previously played outside of the United States just once, in Japan in 1987 against Washington State. This will mark UH’s first-ever game outside the country.
“The University of Hawai‘i is thrilled for this wonderful opportunity to open the 2016 college football season in Sydney against the University of California, Berkeley,” UH athletic director David Matlin said in his statement. “Our football program has tremendous pride in not only representing the state of Hawai‘i, but all of the Pacific region. From a cultural perspective, this game will afford our student-athletes an experience they will always remember and give most of them the chance to travel outside the United States for the first time in their lives. Traditionally, the University of Hawai‘i has been fortunate to welcome many student-athletes from Australia and we hope this game opens doors for many more.”