noembed noembed

Commentary, sarcasm and snide remarks from a Florida resident of over thirty years. Being a glutton for punishment is a requirement for residency here. Who am I? I've been called a moonbat by Michelle Malkin, a Right Wing Nut by Daily Kos, and middle of the road by Florida blog State of Sunshine. Tell me what you think.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Unhappiness in Tampa

It all arises from the fact that the University of Florida football team will be playing in that city's Outback Bowl game on January 2nd. This will be the Gator's 3rd appearance in the Outback over the last four years.

Having some familiarity with the hotels, I do understand where these businesses are coming from. The Bowl game is a tourist draw that will bring people to Tampa to spend money. The close proximity of the University of Florida leads to few fans staying in Tampa more than one night and this lessens the impact the game has on the local economy.

The bowls before the BCS were a mad scramble. Each bowl trying to get the teams they want. I see the BCS as making process process smoother but not necessarily better. Some of these games feature the same or close to the same matchups every year. If a team has played in say the Holiday Bowl three of the last four years, how many fans really come every year? After all how many times can you see San Diego?(or anywhere else. No offense meant San Diego)

Of course the BCS gets the #1 vs #2 matchup at the end of the year. I guess Tampa and other cities are just going to have to live with it.

Open Post- Bright & Early, Third World County, Is it just me, Right Wing Nation, TMH's Bacon Bits,

TAMPA - Stung by the selection of the University of Florida to play in the Outback Bowl, local tourism leaders are demanding bowl officials take into account in the future that out-of-state teams bring more business to the Tampa Bay area's tourism industry.

Bowl organizers chose UF for the third time in four years last week to play in the event Jan. 2. Although tourism officials were happy with the selection of UF's opponent, the University of Iowa, they say two out-of-state teams are better than one.

The controversy seemed to reach a boiling point Thursday when the executive director of the Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association told members he will seek a meeting with Outback Bowl officials and insist at a minimum that they take into account the needs of the lodging and tourism community.

Lodging industry members say they should have a say because they are a major financial supporter of the bowl, though no one on Thursday talked about cutting funding.

"I'm a big Gator supporter, but we need to fill rooms," said Bob Morrison, executive director of the Hillsborough County Hotel & Motel Association and an alumnus of the university's law school.

Outback Bowl President and Chief Executive Officer Jim McVay said organizers did take the tourism community into account when it chose teams. He said one of the reasons the bowl picked the University of Iowa was that its fans travel in large numbers.

"It's not our job to call the head of the Marriott hotel and say, 'Who do you want us to pick?' " he said. "That's not fair."

Officials of the nonprofit Outback Bowl have to look out for their own financial interest, picking teams that draw fans to fill up Raymond James Stadium, he said. They must also please officials of the main corporate sponsor, Outback Steakhouse Inc., and ESPN, which pays for the rights to broadcast the game and wants high viewership.

ESPN is a major contributor to the Outback Bowl's health, paying $2.75 million for the television rights, according to the bowl's 2004 financial filings. Outback Steakhouse Inc. is the bowl's biggest corporate sponsor, paying $800,000 for naming rights, down from $1 million in 2003.

The bowl is third in line after more prestigious bowls to pick a team from the Big 10 Conference and the eastern division of the Southeastern Conference. The University of South Carolina would have been a bigger tourist draw than UF, McVay said, but the team's record didn't justify it being chosen.

Steve Hayes, executive vice president of the Tampa Bay Convention & Visitor's Bureau, said his organization also will be seeking a meeting with Outback Bowl officials. In addition to hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions and the taxi and limousine businesses are affected, he said.

Gators fans come for the day or a few nights, not like out-of-state fans who spend the entire holiday period, said Morrison, who is also a member of the Hillsborough County Tourist Development Council.

Some hotels, traditionally full when two out-of-town teams play, will be half-empty this time around, he said.

Listed on BlogShares