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Bowl Game Organizers Foresee a Green Holiday

Bowl Game Organizers Foresee a Green Holiday

Tourism: Spending Expected To Impact Economy By More Than $20M

BY CONNIE LEWIS

Staff Writer

It doesn’t matter to people at the San Diego Convention & Visitors Bureau whether the oddsmakers are favoring Arizona State University or Kansas State University in this year’s Pacific Life Holiday Bowl.

Since the Dec. 27 event has a potential economic impact of more than $20 million, San Diego should come out a victor. And what’s more, it couldn’t come at a better time of the year.

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“From a tourism standpoint this is a tremendous boost at a time between Thanksgiving and the new year when hotel occupancy and visitor travel is at its slowest,” said ConVis spokesman Sal Giametta.

Also valuable is the exposure given the city’s “skyline, waterfront and its attractions” when the game is aired nationally on cable network ESPN, Giametta said.

With an average attendance of about 63,000 over the last four years, the game has had an average economic impact of $23 million, said Mark Neville, assistant executive director for the Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, which is in its 25th year.

With more than 60,000 tickets sold to date, the odds of being on par with prior years look favorable, Neville said.

“I hope we’ll hit the average and then some,” he said. “We have three weeks to sell tickets and get everyone to make travel arrangements.

“That’s the hurdle the fans of these two teams have to get over.”

Traditionally teams are announced from three to four weeks ahead of the games and each are obligated to purchase 11,500 tickets, which they resell to fans, Neville said.

“I don’t have exact figures, but I’ve heard that both (teams) are selling a lot of tickets. San Diego is a good place to come to in late December and I hear it’s snowing in Kansas.”

With San Diego a convenient six-hour drive from the Phoenix-metropolitan area, “a large ingress of Arizona State fans” is expected, Neville said.

But much is up to the players, he added.

“The teams that come here know they have to put on a show for the fans,” he said.

If the Sun Devils and Wildcats live up to the historical average of games past, the ending score at Qualcomm Stadium will be something like 32-28, Neville said.

The Wildcats are ranked No. 8 in the nation by the bowl championship series poll. The Holiday Bowl features the Pacific-10 Conference runner-up against the third selection from the Big 12 Conference.

Since the BCS selected two Pac-10 teams , Washington State and the University of Southern California , the Holiday Bowl selected Arizona State.

The Wildcats return to San Diego for the third time in eight years, while Arizona State returns after a 17-year hiatus.

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