College Football's New Boca Bowl Changes Old Bowl Business Model
By Steve Barnes
While many bowl games tend to be a carbon copy of one another, in 2014, one new postseason game is going to go against the grain in attracting fans to its inaugural event.
Of course regionally-tethered games that draw teams from just a few hundred miles away from its stadium have the advantage of directing its marketing charge at the two schools who will play in the game. It is a tad different in South Florida.
This season marks the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl and it will be held two days before Christmas, which makes it a tough sell for the event's staff to convince fans from schools in the Mid-American Conference and Conference USA to spend its holiday money on a football game.
That is where the bowl has the right idea.
"We are using a tremendous community outreach and that is not too hard in Palm Beach County,' Bowl director Doug Moseley said. "There is a lot of excitement in the county that is no stranger to college football. I think last season, 20-23 players from here played in the national championship game and about 100 played in bowl games."
Florida Atlantic's 30,000-seat stadium will be used for the game and its size will prove to be of benefit for the ESPN television audience. Unlike some games that draw 30,000 in a venue built to accommodate twice that number, the crowd will give the television audience the concept of a sell-out crowd.
And should the crowd consist of fans who drove to the game on less than one tank of gas, they will still shop and eat in the area, an aspect not lost on the powers of the area.
"Boca Raton is thrilled to be a partner in hosting the Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 23 at FAU Stadium,'' Boca Raton mayor, Susan Haynie, said. "We are looking forward to many festivities leading up to game day. It is an exciting opportunity not only for local economic impact but for showcasing our amazing City and wonderful Hometown University."
The game has already garnered attention by being on that has a near impossibility of rematches in the coming years. Although this year a MAC team will face a Conference USA team, next year the AAC will be represented. From now on, the three conferences will be working on a rotating basis.
Finally, the game is owned by ESPN events. The combination of that network, the local fan excitement and the knowledge and enthusiasm of the bowl's staff should make the inaugural Boca Raton Bowl something to see during the holidays.