WASHINGTON (AP) -The man representing the sponsor of the first bowl game to be played in the District of Columbia was soaking in the scene at the U.S. Navy Memorial when a big poster caught his eye.
``I'm looking at the Navy schedule right now,'' EagleBank vice chairman Bob Pincus said. ``We want Navy to win six games. Navy will help come and fill this stadium.''
The nation's capital formally unveiled its newest sports prize Tuesday, the EagleBank Bowl, one of two new games sanctioned by NCAA this year and one that needs a team like Navy - located in nearby Annapolis - to fit into its military theme. As a new kid on the block, the game will start on the bottom rung: an 11 a.m. Saturday kickoff at RFK Stadium on Dec. 20, the first of 34 bowls in the upper tier of Division I.
``If you're a junkie like I am, you'll be watching every single bowl game,'' Mayor Adrian Fenty said, ``starting with this one.''
, organizers will have to choose from a potentially unappetizing array of bowl-eligible teams from elsewhere.
Army - which hasn't played in a bowl game since 1996 - is scheduled to host the 2009 game. Having the service academies fits into the bowl's charitable ambition of donating some of its proceeds to veterans. EagleBank signed a four-year commitment as the title sponsor.
``We want to have a military service team play every year,'' Pincus said.
Since the mid-1990s, the city has successfully used sports as a cog in its revitalization efforts. The Verizon Center has been a boon for downtown, and the new Nationals Park promises to do the same for the Anacostia Waterfront. The bowl game is seen as part of the goal to eventually lure the Washington Redskins back from the Maryland suburbs.
``The District of Columbia has been turning the corner for a long time,'' Fenty said.
This latest effort would have been a better public relations coup if the game has keep its original proposed name, the Congressional Bowl, which would have made it instantly identifiable with the nation's capital.
Instead, like many bowl games, the money from a title sponsor was too good to turn down.
``Naming rights,'' said Bill Hall, vice chairman of the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, ``are a reality of big-time sports.''

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