For the first time since World War II, the Army-Navy football game will be played at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, school officials announced Friday.
The game is being moved from Philadelphia, where it was scheduled to take place Dec. 12, because of pandemic crowd limits in the city that would have prevented the entire Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen from attending, according to a release issued Friday.
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The historic matchup -- the 121st time the game has been played -- last happened on a home field at West Point in 1943. It was last held at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis in 1942.
"The health and welfare of the Corps of Cadets and Brigade of Midshipmen is the number one priority," West Point superintendent Lt. Gen. Darryl Williams said. "Hosting the Army-Navy Game on West Point will be the safest way for the Cadets and Midshipmen to experience the game."
The first Army-Navy football game was played at West Point on Nov. 29, 1890, with the schools alternating as hosts through 1893. The first game was played in Philadelphia in 1899 following a six-year hiatus. The city, selected for its location roughly halfway between the two schools, has hosted the event 89 times.
"We want to thank the city of Philadelphia, the [Philadelphia] Eagles and all involved in the planning for their efforts to navigate this historic game in the current COVID-19 climate," said Mike Buddie, the athletics director at West Point.
The game's popularity is among the reasons neither academy can host the game with spectators in attendance. But this year, capacity shouldn't be an issue because it is "unlikely there will be fan attendance," according to the release.
West Point's Michie Stadium seats 38,000 while the Naval Academy's Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium seats 34,000. Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, where the game has taken place every year except one since 2003, seats more than 69,000.
This season, Navy is 3-2, while West Point is 5-1. Navy leads the historic series with 61 wins versus Army's 52.
The game is scheduled for 3 p.m. Dec. 12; it will be televised on CBS.
"We will miss the warm welcome the city of Philadelphia provides to Army and Navy fans; however, we are thrilled to continue this longstanding tradition by playing the 121st Army-Navy Game at Michie Stadium at West Point this year." Naval Academy Superintendent Vice Adm. Sean Buck said.
-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@Monster.com. Follow her on Twitter @patriciakime.