IRE #6: Bowl Games

It is a coincidence, I am sure, that my fourth IRE, two weeks ago, dealt with the theme of a horrific disaster. So this week I do not feel compelled to address the tragedy of the Earthquake/Tsunami.
Instead, we are going to go for something cheerier. Or not, if you don’t feel up to it this week.
This is the time of the year in football, both College and Professional, that we concern ourselves with playoffs, rankings and bowl games. The Rose Bowl and the Parade, too, are in a few days. So let’s take this celebration and pinnacle of a year in sport as our theme this week, ok?

I’m going to go with a D20 fantasy kingdom, one with some Roman or Byzantine influences in its structure. There are stadia and coliseums both, and at the end of a year, the intensity of the races and the combats reach a fevered pitch. (Readers of the Sarantine Mosaic books by Kay will know what I mean as far as the horse races go).
PCs can plug into this theme in any number of ways. Maybe they are participating in the combats directly, trying to earn fame and fortune, and the right to go to the capital and fight there in front of the Empress. Or maybe they are drawn into a faction dispute between the Blues and the Greens (or their equivalents in this world), fighting to help the dominance of one group over the other as the end of the season draws nigh.