SBD/January 3, 2011/Colleges

TicketCity, Pinstripe Bowls Fare Well In First Year Of Existence

First-Ever TicketCity Bowl Breaks Even Thanks To Attendance Of 40,121

The inaugural TicketCity Bowl at the Cotton Bowl on Saturday drew 40,121 fans, and bowl Founder & CEO Ken Starr said that the attendance was "just above the break-even point for the bowl's bottom line," according to Chuck Carlton of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Starr said, "We got there. I think our crowd was good. You're never satisfied until you sell every ticket. For a first year, I'm happy." Carlton noted the bowl, which featured Texas Tech defeating Northwestern 45-38, "brought postseason football back to the Cotton Bowl two years after the namesake game departed for Arlington and Cowboys Stadium." Players from both teams "praised the week of hospitality as well as the opportunity, the kind of word of mouth that start-up bowls crave." Starr: "The good news is we have a full year to work on it. We're not new anymore. People at least realize we exist. ... With an exciting game like this, I think it enhances our stature." Starr confirmed that because the NCAA has "adopted four-year licenses, the TicketCity Bowl will not have to go through a renewal process this year." Meanwhile, TicketCity "signed on for one year as the title sponsor with an option for 2012," and Starr was "optimistic that the ticket broker would be back for a second season" (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 1/2). 

ANOTHER SOLID DEBUT: In N.Y., Dick Weiss noted a crowd of 38,274 fans attended the inaugural New Era Pinstripe Bowl between Syracuse and Kansas State at Yankee Stadium on Thursday (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 12/31). On Long Island, Mark Herrmann wrote the atmosphere at the game was "terrific, from the roars of a paid crowd of 38,274 to the piles of snow left along the sidelines for effect." Meanwhile, the "best compliment for this game put on by the Yankees was that the focus afterward wasn't on compliments," as instead of "polite platitudes, there was raw emotion over" Syracuse's 36-34 victory. Herrmann: "Tears were the remnant of good, earnest, heartbreaking competition, which was the best tribute of all for the site and the organization that put this bowl game together. ... All of this answers the question: Is it a good idea to hold a bowl game in the teeth of winter in a city that hasn't been a college football town since the 1940s? Darn right it is." N.Y. "may not be a college football town, but it is a big-event town." Yankees President Randy Levine: "This is Yankee Stadium. This is where events happen" (NEWSDAY, 12/31).

OFF YEAR: Friday's South Florida-Clemson Meineke Car Care Bowl at Bank of America Stadium drew 41,112 fans, the "lowest attendance in the nine-year history of the game" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/1). In Charlotte, Ron Green Jr. wrote the "most striking thing" about the game was "how empty the big blue stadium looked and felt." Clemson's fan base "prides itself on its allegiance," so it was "striking how many fans didn't make the 2 1/2-hour drive." Green noted Charlotte for the first time also hosted the ACC football championship game in December, and wondered if that "hurt the bowl game." Raycom Sports President & CEO Ken Haines, whose company created the bowl game, said, "I don't think we know. ... I do know two games can be very successful in the same city. They've proven that in Atlanta (with the SEC Championship and the Chick-fil-A Bowl)" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/1). Meanwhile, Green noted bowl organizers "won't know for a while exactly when the Belk Bowl (that's the new name) will be played in 2011, but it's likely to be a weekday between Christmas and New Year's Day" (CHARLOTTE OBSERVER, 1/1).

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