College bowl games bring boost to local economy


More than 30,000 screaming fans will pack into the park for the game. They won't be cheering on a hometown team but the City by the Bay has rolled out the red carpet to welcome its visitors because they're plunking down a pretty good amount of cash. All the excitement kicked off Friday at Union Square.

In this spirited matchup between the Midshipmen and the Sun Devils, fans and families from across the country traveled to the Bay Area. "Annapolis, Maryland," one woman replied, asked where she was from.

"I'm from Chicago, presently," another woman said.

"Phoenix, Arizona," said John Kaiser. He and his wife Patrice traveled to San Francisco to support their daughter Alanah who is part of the Arizona Sun Devil Spirit Squad. It's been a while since they've visited the city. "When I was here, I was like, her age, basically younger than her, and of course, look at the shopping," Patrice said.

One lady seen dancing Friday with Bill, the Naval Academy mascot, is the proud mother of Bo Snelson, one of the frontline players on the Naval Academy team. The five-day trip was a special treat for her whole family. "We told the girls that if he made the bowl game, that this would be their Christmas present. We did Alcatraz yesterday. It was cool," Mandy Snelson said.

A lot of people came to the Bay Area for the game and they are all bringing a healthy boost to the local economy. "We've got two teams that are really excited to be here and their fans are excited to be here, and gosh, I think we're filling up all the hotels in San Francisco," Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli said.

33,000 tickets had already been sold for this matchup by Friday evening, so AT&T Park's capacity of 40,000 had not yet been met, but organizers estimate this will be another banner year for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. "Over the last 11 years, we've brought in $130 million, so that's an average of about $12 or $13 million a year for the San Francisco economy," Cavalli said.

If you'd like to check out a college bowl game and all the pomp and circumstance that goes along with it, you can still buy tickets online or at the AT&T Park box office.

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