TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - On Dec. 31, Arizona Stadium is normally bustling with visiting college football fans in town for the Arizona Bowl. But, as athletic conferences from across the county announce the cancellation of their fall football seasons, it leaves bowl games without teams to compete.
“The Arizona Bowl, from its inception, has not been about TV programming- its about showing the best of Tucson,” said Ali Farhang, the chairman of the Arizona Bowl.
Alongside the Pac-12 and Big 10, the Mountain West and MAC Conferences- the two partner conferences of the Arizona Bowl- have postponed their football seasons until the spring.
Fairhang says he understands why the decision is being made, but he is also thinking about the effects it could have on the local economy as the game pumps over $25 million into the local economy.
“It has a huge consequence on a lot of peoples lives- its tragic,” said Farhang. “Vendors, concessioners, ticket takers, nonprofits, people who work at the game, fans from other places staying at our local hotels, eating at the restaurants and bars at times when its normally slow.”
Farhang says his team is doing its best to help all its local partners during these uncertain times. The bowl has held school supply drives for the Boys and Girls Club and pet supply drives for those in need.
“Our mandate was not ‘woe is us’ and ‘can you help us’. We went to all of our partners, and the message was ‘how are you doing’ and ‘what can we do for you’,” said Farhang
He says the bowl has a great foundation and will be able to pivot in whatever direction is needed.
“Were going to come out of this and were not going to back to normal were going to be better than normal,” said Farhang.
The board of the Arizona Bowl is fully prepared to hold off on competition until the 2021 season
“It’s going to be the sweetest fruit we’ve ever tasted when we get to come together again for another Arizona Bowl,” said Farhang.