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CU-CSU series moving back to Invesco Field

ARNIE STAPLETON
AP Sports Writer

DENVER – The football rivalry between the University of Colorado and Colorado State University has been extended for a decade and will return to Denver starting next year.

The rivalry has gained national prominence since moving to Denver in 1998, although this year’s game, the 81st in the series that began in 1893, is in Boulder on Sunday night.

CSU athletic director Paul Kowalczyk and Mike Bohn, his counterpart at CU, announced the 10-year extension of the series at Invesco Field on Monday in conjunction with the Metro Denver Sports Commission and Stadium Management Co.



As part of the agreement, next year’s game will be moved from Fort Collins to Invesco Field, where both schools can generate more than $1 million in revenue. The series returns to Fort Collins in 2020.

“The game deserves to be in Denver. I’ve said that all along since I took over,” said Kowalczyk, who had originally moved next year’s game to Fort Collins in response to the Buffaloes moving this year’s contest to Boulder to give CU six true home games.



“This is the state’s signature college football event and the game belongs in Denver,” Kowalczyk said.

Kowalczyk said boosters should understand the rationale for moving next year’s home game back to Denver and delaying the Buffaloes’ next visit to Fort Collins for more than a decade.

“We’re trying to build this program for the long term,” Kowalczyk said. “And if we want to have the kind of success we expect to have, then No. 1 we need to be playing our instate rival because it put us in the national spotlight. No. 2, we need the revenue to help us build our program.”



The extension means the programs will meet for 26 straight years, the longest uninterrupted string of games in the 116-year-old series since they met 37 consecutive years from 1906-42.

“I think it’s great for both institutions,” Buffaloes coach Dan Hawkins said. “Great stadium and it’s great to bring the game to Denver. We both have a tremendous fan base in Denver.”

“I think the whole state won. The city of Denver, the universities. Everybody benefits,” Rams coach Steve Fairchild said.

Both schools consider Denver a home market because so many students and alumni come from or live in the Denver area. And by playing the game at the Denver Broncos’ stadium, both schools will be able to offer the game as part of their season ticket package regardless of which university is designated the home team.

“The economic benefits of playing the game in Denver cannot be understated,” Kowalczyk said. “If we expect to compete on the national stage and continue to grow our programs, it will take the kind of revenue this game generates.”

“This is a no-brainer,” Bohn said. “We really have to do this because for the University of Colorado alone, it’s an $8 million to $10 million increase in revenue over what we had if we stayed with the existing model. With our scholarship tuition commitments rising almost $700,000 per year, it’s things like this that are significant in helping us be financially strong and in being competitive in recruiting as well.”

Bohn said the Buffaloes will still try to play a half dozen home games a year, plus the Denver game, for the life of the 10-year agreement.

For the second straight season, the game will be the only one in the country, college or pro, being played on Sunday night in prime time.

“That exposure carries obvious advantages with respect to recruiting, and I’m not talking just about football players,” Rams coach Steve Fairchild said. “The visibility is good for recruiting students in general to Colorado State.

NOTES: Fairchild announced Monday that Grant Stucker had beaten out Jon Eastman for the starting quarterback job. Hawkins said he hasn’t picked between Tyler Hansen and Cody Hawkins as his starting QB.


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