Tampa Bay will host one of the historic college football all-star games on Saturday with the playing of the East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. Kickoff is 4:00 p.m. Since 1925, the East-West Shrine Game has pitted the best college football players from the East and West sides of the United States against one another in an all-star game played to benefit Shriners Hospitals for Children®.
The game and the practice sessions before it attract dozens of NFL scouts and is often a launch pad to a career as a professional football player. The East-West Shrine Game has grown far beyond its California-based roots into a nationally celebrated and televised event that attracts tens of thousands of fans and raises funds and awareness for the 22 Shriners Hospitals for Children.
The East-West Shrine Game began as a baseball game between San Francisco Shriners and Elks. These two fraternities had played a baseball game for years, with all proceeds being donated to Shriners Hospitals for Children. As the idea of turning this game into a larger event blossomed, a group of Shriners decided to switch the game to football because of its wider appeal. The original idea was to pit local Shriners against all comers, but that idea was rejected as the founders considered the potential for injury to non-athletes entering the game.
It was then that E. Jack Spaulding had the idea to turn the game into the nation’s first real all-star game, with players representing colleges from the eastern and western halves of the country. Noble Sam Goodman agreed and proposed that all proceeds from the game benefit the San Francisco Shriners Hospital for Children.
The very first East-West Shrine Game was played on December 26, 1925, before an audience of 25,000 fans. A profit of $25,000 was given to the San Francisco hospital and an unparalleled football tradition was born.
The 88th Annual East-West Shrine Game® at Tropicana Field will be televised on the NFL Network. WDAE 620 AM will broadcast the game on local radio.