MIAMI (AP) — The Miami Marlins' home run sculpture will become a touchdown sculpture for the Miami Beach Bowl.
Marlins Ballpark will host a team from the American Athletic Conference in the annual new bowl game beginning in December 2014. The opponent will usually come from the Mid-American Conference, the Sun Belt Conference or Conference USA, and the deal with Marlins officials runs six years, through the 2019 season.
Football hasn't been played on the site since the Orange Bowl was torn down in 2008. Marlins Park opened early last year.
"These are hallowed grounds," Marlins president David Samson said. "This is where the Orange Bowl was. The tradition of college football here should continue."
The animated sculpture beyond center field will be activated when teams score — perhaps for field goals as well as touchdowns, Samson said.
While the ballpark is located in Miami, bowl organizers chose to name the game for Miami Beach six miles away.
"We considered South Beach Bowl, Miami Beach Bowl, Miami Bowl," said Nick Carparelli, senior associate commissioner for the AAC. "We felt the national branding for the event that would bring the most attention to the game and the area would be to call it the Miami Beach Bowl. I think when people who aren't from this area think about coming here to vacation, they think about Miami Beach."
Carparelli wore a white sport coat and bright Marlins-blue shirt to the news conference where the bowl was announced.
"This is what Northerners look like when they come to the Miami Beach Bowl," Samson said with a smile. "We didn't even ask him to dress that way."