American Football Database
Bacardi Bowl (defunct)
Stadium La Tropical Stadium
Location Havana, Cuba
Operated 1907, 1910, 1912, 1921, 1937, 1946

Bacardi Bowl was a college football bowl game played seven times in Havana, Cuba at La Tropical Stadium.[1] Sometimes referred to as the Rhumba Bowl or the Cigar Bowl, the game was the climaxing event of Cuba’s annual National Sports Festival. The first five occurrences matched an American college team (all from the Deep South) against Cuban universities or athletic clubs. The 1937 and 1938 games were billed under the Bacardi Bowl and Rhumba Bowl monikers. The 1946 game is sometimes considered the first of the Cigar Bowl games.

Game results

Italics denote a tie game.

Date Played Winning Team Losing Team
December 25, 1907 LSU 56 Havana University 0
January 1, 1910 Havana Athletic Club 11 Tulane 0
January 1, 1912 Mississippi State 12 Havana Athletic Club 0
December 25, 1912 Florida 28 Vedado Athletic Club 0
December 31, 1921 Cuban Athletic Club 14 Ole Miss 0
January 1, 1937 Auburn 7 Villanova 7
January 2, 1938 Rollins - Cuban Navy -
December 7, 1946 Southern Miss 55 Havana University 0

† Game at Campo Polar canceled after naval goodwill fliers accident in Cali, Colombia.

Notable games

1907 - LSU vs. Havana University

The first Bacardi Bowl in 1907 matched Louisiana State University against Havana University.

1937 - Auburn vs. Villanova

Auburn’s bowl history began with the 1937 game before 15,000 to 18,000 spectators when the Tigers and Villanova tied 7-7. This game marked the first time that two US universities played a game on foreign soil. An Auburn drive in the first quarter stalled on the 10-yard line where the Wildcats took over on downs. After a Villanova punt, Auburn running back Billy Hitchcock broke loose around left end and rambled 40 yards for the Tigers' only score. The score at the half was Auburn 7, Villanova 0.

Auburn stopped a Villanova drive on its own 12-yard line during the third quarter but couldn’t get field position. Villanova was able to tie the score when they blocked an Auburn quick kick and the ball bounced into the endzone where Wildcat Lineman Matthews Kuber fell on it for the score. The p.a.t. tied the game. Auburn’s return to the USA marked an end to more than 11,000 miles of travel for the 7-2-2 Tigers that finished the season ranked 13th in the country under coach Jack Meagher.

The game was played in a revolutionary atmosphere. Fulgencio Batista, the dictator who would be overthrown by Fidel Castro 22 years later, had just assumed power. The game was almost canceled because Batista’s picture was not in the game program. A quick trip to the printer saved the Bacardi Bowl. The December 22, 1963 issue of the Florence Times-Tri-Cities Daily has a detailed account of former Auburn player Frank Hamm's recollections of this game.


After the demise of the Bacardi Bowl, an NCAA football game would not be played outside the US until the 1977 matchup between the Grambling State Tigers and the Temple Owls played in Tokyo, Japan. This was the inaugural Mirage Bowl, which despite its name was conducted in the regular season, and was played annually (with different matchups each year) until 1993. The next postseason game played outside the US would not take place until 2007, when Cincinnati defeated Western Michigan in the International Bowl held in Toronto.

See also

List of college bowl games


  1. Foldesy, Jody. "Bowls burgeon as big business", The Washington Times. December 21, 1997. Page A1.