The University of St. Thomas has announced that Twin Cities-based Oppidan Investment Company will be the presenting sponsor for its Sept. 23 home football game at Target Field featuring the Tommies and the Johnnies from archrival Saint John's University.
Oppidan is a national property development firm offering a full range of real estate services, including asset management, brokerage services, construction management and project management.
"The Oppidan team is excited to be part of one of Division III's biggest rivalry games between St. Thomas and Saint John's this fall," said Joe Ryan, Oppidan's Chief Executive Officer. "With our team members being alums of both schools and Oppidan's commitment to the communities we work in, the partnership was a perfect fit for us."
Target Field is home to Major League Baseball's the Minnesota Twins. Since its opening in 2010, the ballpark has hosted multiple non-baseball related events including concerts by Kenny Chesney, Paul McCartney, the Zac Brown Band, and soccer games and music festivals. Summer 2017 acts set for Target Field include Billy Joel and Florida Georgia Line.
The September meeting between St. Thomas and Saint John's will be the first-ever football game played at Target Field.
Tickets went on sale in December 2016, and the game is already on pace to break the NCAA Division III football attendance record. Six of the top 15 all-time Division III attendance marks have involved the St. Thomas-St. John's matchup.
This event will also showcase one of the top rivalries and top trophy games in Division III football. The Sept. 23 clash, with the Holy Grail Trophy at stake, will be the 87th meeting in a series that began in 1901 with a Thanksgiving Day game held at St. Paul's Lexington Park. Charter members of the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference since its creation in 1920, St. Thomas and Saint John's played periodically in football from 1901-1950 but have faced off every year since 1952.
The Tommie-Johnnie football rivalry has featured at least one Division III top-10 ranked team in 11 of the past 12 seasons. Both football programs come into the 2017 preseason listed in the top five nationally in one summer magazine ranking, and both have reached the 32-team NCAA playoffs in each of the last three seasons.