BUSINESS OF SPORTS

Notre Dame in the BCS meant $224 million for South Florida

 

Notre Dame helped bring record economic impact for South Florida’s final guaranteed national championship game for college football, organizers said Monday.

Notre Dame brought its national following to Sun Life Stadium in January to play Alabama for Notre Dame’s first national championship in more than 20 years, spiking ticket prices and hotel demand. That led to a big increase in the spending attributed to the so-called “BCS” game, according to an economic-impact study commissioned by the Orange Bowl Committee. The study estimated impact of the Jan. 7 match-up and related Orange Bowl activities at $224 million (plus an additional $74 million in free media exposure).

The Orange Bowl Committee hired Convention Sports & Leisure to conduct the study. CSL said the economic impact was 50 percent higher than it was the last time South Florida hosted the championship. That was in 2009, when the Oklahoma Sooners played the Florida Gators (whose road-tripping fans packed Sun Life but didn’t require extended hotel stays).

Organizers said the 2013 game and Orange Bowl events cost about $30 million in public and private dollars to put on, and the budget is expected to move higher as South Florida is forced to compete with other areas to host future college championship games. While the title game used to rotate among Sun Life and three other stadiums, the NCAA now in entertaining bids for the event -- prompting a ramp-up in the kind of enticements the NFL enjoys while picking destinations for the Super Bowl.

Orange Bowl spokesman Larry Wahl declined to reveal the estimated budget attached to South Florida’s bid for the 2017 championship game, which was submitted earlier this year. A high economic-impact will be central to the Orange Bowl’s pitch for more private and public dollars to compete for the championship.

DOUGLAS HANKS

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