January 10, 2011 by staff
He saw Penn State down powerful Miami in 1987, saw Ohio State upset the Hurricanes in 2003, and was there when Texas knocked off Southern California in the Rose Bowl in 2006.
As president and CEO of the Fiesta Bowl, Junker professes Oregon vs. Auburn in BCS national championship game Monday could surpass all. “To me, these are some real great games and this I think is bigger,” he said.
And indeed, the confrontation is a hot ticket; thanks to the fact that teams are newcomers to the championship and each have their prolific offenses. The No. 1 against No. 2 showdown is sure to be another financial windfall for the Phoenix area, too.
There’s just one thing. This way, it is difficult to tell one of the great sporting events of the year is going to happen.
There are no large signs at the airport touting the area as host of the championship game, no chains of billboards that dot the highway every few miles, no majority, enthusiasm isn’t Does big-people around the city.
Other than a few pockets condensed – Fanfest in the center of Scottsdale is one – even the duck and the faithful who came to the game in Tiger are not exactly exceed, their team colors blend with almost all world’s fifth largest city in the country.
Some Auburn fans did not fly in Arizona. They landed in Las Vegas to spend a few days of living on the Strip before crossing the desert for the championship.
With an area that takes about an hour to cross and a long history of hosting major events, Phoenix is the treatment that would be a sight in most cities as just another Monday coming to the end with the game largest college football season.
“Phoenix is so huge that it tends to swallow the big events like this,” said spokesman Andy Bagnato Fiesta Bowl, which grew in the region. “This is a great city to put on major events and people that want a piece of these big events know where to go. ”
Without doubt, it is an ideal place for large events.
Phoenix was the site of two Super Bowls, World Series, the NCAA tournament, playoffs in all four major sports. The NBA All-Star Game has been here twice and the version of baseball will be at Chase Field next season. There are two NASCAR races here and the Phoenix Open was the biggest crowd on the PGA Tour, fans of 400,000 or more – many of them at the rowdy 16th hole – crowded around training.
He also became a refuge bowl.
Phoenix hosts the Insight and Fiesta bowls regularly, and became the first region to be the site of three bowls in a season four years ago with the addition of 2007 Title Game BCS.
According to an economic impact study by the W.P. Carey School of Business, this bowl initial trio generated 401.7 million and the state, 3,576 jobs and $ 10.1 million in state and local taxes. Fiesta Bowl Chairman Duane Woods said that even with a not-so-glamorous Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma and Connecticut, the region could yield about 420 million $ TripleHead this year.
“For each of our bowls, we have a different crowd coming,” he said. “People really see this as a bowl destination for them. They come for the week, they enjoy the weather, all other things.”
Time and all these other things are part of what makes Phoenix such a good draw for bowl games.
Not only the fans want to come here when their teams get into a bowl of Arizona, many are already here. Phoenix is filled with transplants from all over the country, and each year there is a migration of “snow birds”, the elderly who descend from the coldest places in winter.
Even when teams do not travel so well – like UConn last week – the locals tend to fill the empty seats regularly, including this season, while a record number of ticket packages for all three games have been sold.
“He always helped a lot because in the BCS, we had teams from each conference,” said Junker. “Some teams are bigger than the other draws – the people themselves would be pleasant to say otherwise – but we have people from everywhere here, there are some links to almost every part of the country.”
This season has been another good for the desert bowls.
The Insight Bowl, which has benefited from tie-ins in the Big Ten and Big 12 conferences, has sold nearly 70,000 tickets for the game between Iowa and Missouri. The Fiesta Bowl against UConn is a climb so far and his fans stuck in bad weather, but attendance remains top 67,000, thanks to a still-strong contingent of fans making the trip Sooners.
And, with two new teams for the championship and two of the most exciting offenses in the nation, the BCS title game has been off the charts.
The championship has been sold almost since the teams were announced. Tickets with a face value of 300 and have been for thousands of dollars and a pair was listed at $ 15,000 each – or the cost of a Ford Explorer 2011.
Ticker broker StubHub.com even had to suspend ticket sales for some time after a seller who did not have enough tickets to fill orders.
In all, there will be more than 70,000 fans inside University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday night and thousands more in the field of play, between 10,000 and 15,000 Auburn alone, by one count.
“It is bigger than the Super Bowl,” Auburn linebacker Josh Bynes, said.
This is true for anyone connected with Oregon or Auburn. For the rest of Phoenix, it’ll just be on Monday.
Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
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