Tampa Bay Area Along With Miami, Orlando & Jacksonville Are Bowl Crazy

Florida is the meca of college bowl games with Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and the Tampa Area all looking to cash in.

When comes to hosting college and professional bowl games no one does it better than the Sunshine State. Eleven college bowls call Florida home including the Playoff Championship Game being hosting in Tampa.

The state could see nearly half a billion dollars in tourist dollars when the college bowl season ends in January. Four of the ten bowl games feature Sunshine State teams with Central Florida, Florida, Florida State, and Miami all staying in state, while South Florida is the only team play a “road game,” in Birmingham.

The Tampa Bay Area hosts four games, the St. Petersburg Bowl, the Outback Bowl, the East-West Shrine Game and of course the aforementioned national championship game. Miami is home to three games, of course the Orange Bowl the Miami Beach Bowl and the Boca Raton Bowl.

Orlando, is home to three college games the Auto Nation Cure Bowl, Russell Athletic Bowl, along with the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl and the National Football League Pro Bowl Game. Jacksonville is home to old Gator Bowl now renamed the Taxslayler Bowl.

Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando and the Tampa Bay area offer plenty of bowl related events that draw both those fans coming in from out of town as well as plenty of local fans.

An analysis of the NCAA’s 2014 and 2015 postseasons found that the 41 annual bowl games had a collective annual impact of somewhere between $1.5 and $2 billion, said researchers Opens a New Window.  at San Diego State University and George Washington University.

Sports economists are generally skeptical of dollar figures provided by economic impact studies, especially those conducted on behalf of the group holding the event in question. The report by San Diego State and George Washington was conducted on behalf of the Football Bowl Association.

The college bowl season brought in between $1.5 and 2 billion dollars to local host cities. As one might expect the College Football Playoff semifinals – the Peach, Fiesta, Rose, Orange, Cotton and Sugar Bowls – had an average impact of more than $93.7 million, the study found. Those bowl games purportedly generated a total of more than $600 million in outside spending in 2014 and 2015.

Also of note to the coffers in Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and the Tampa Bay area. According to the study, bowl games composed of teams in the prominent “Power Five” conferences generated an average impact of more than $34 million, while contests featuring the smaller “Group of Five” conferences generated an average of more than $12 million.

The study defined “economic impact” as spending that occurred outside the immediate vicinity of the game by consumers who weren’t part of the local community. Researchers tracked the use of amenities such as food, lodging and local entertainment. Spending on hotels tended to increase for the more prestigious matchups, from 23% for Group of Five bowls to 37% for the New Year’s Six.

Rob Higgin, executive director of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission told Sports Talk Florida earlier this year that the big prize of the college bowl season College Football Playoff Championship Game is a major get for both Florida and the Bay Area.

There will be as many as 80,000 people expected to come to Tampa for the big game. This only the third year of the event and it has the feel of a Super Bowl, something the area is quite familiar with having hosted four. Meanwhile, Miami hosting the Orange Bowl (FSU plays there this year) which is one “The Major Six Bowl Games,” that gives the state two of the most profitable bowl games of the holiday season.

So at the end of January when the money is counted this could be a record season for bowl games hosted in the state of Florida.





Jim Williams is the Washington Bureau Chief, Digital Director as well as the Director of Special Projects for Genesis Communications. He is starting his third year as part of the team. This is Williams 40th year in the media business, and in that time he has served in a number of capacities. He is a seven time Emmy Award winning television producer, director, writer and executive. He has developed four regional sports networks, directed over 2,000 live sporting events including basketball, football, baseball hockey, soccer and even polo to name a few sports. Major events include three Olympic Games, two World Cups, two World Series, six NBA Playoffs, four Stanley Cup Playoffs, four NCAA Men’s National Basketball Championship Tournaments (March Madness), two Super Bowl and over a dozen college bowl games. On the entertainment side Williams was involved s and directed over 500 concerts for Showtime, Pay Per View and MTV Networks.