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Arizona Bowl cancellation felt beyond football field, impacts local economy

Bowl organizers say the game brings in tens of millions off dollars each year
Bowl organizers say the game brings in tens of millions off dollars each year(KOLD News 13)
Published: Dec. 28, 2021 at 5:25 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - The Barstool Sports Arizona Bowl was forced to cancel due to a COVID-19 outbreak in a participating team. The impacts of the game’s cancellation will reach far beyond the football field.

“We’ve worked the whole year planning to execute a bowl game. Now today is the first day we’re working to unwind that and cancel,” said Kym Adair, the executive director of the Arizona Bowl.

Adair said it’s disappointing for the hundreds of businesses who benefit from the visiting fans. The general manager at Frog & Firkin, Jonathan Graham, feels that pain.

“It’s been a long time with all the COVID nonsense going on and now it’s a DeJa’Vu. We were geared up for a big day. A lot of bands, we had a whole event planned,” Graham said.

Bowl organizers say the game pumps tens of millions of dollars into the local economy each year. It also gives a boost to non-profits. Adair said the past six games have raised more than 4.5 million dollars for charities.

“One of the most disappointing parts of us not getting to play this year, is we anticipated this year would be the year we could give more money to charity than we could ever give before,” she said.

On a positive note, some of the gameday merchandise, that’s no longer needed, will be given to area homeless shelters.

“At least those can go into the good hands of people that can use them,” she said.

Now the focus is on the future and the hope that things will look brighter in 2022.

“We are going to do the best we can to move on and do what we can to make a good New Year’s Eve for our employees and anybody that wants to come down and hang at the Frog anyway,” Graham said.

Fans who bought tickets for the game will be refunded through SeatGeek and will likely be contacted by the company.

The Downtown Bowl Bash, set for Congress and Fifth Avenue, remains on schedule for New Year’s Eve. The event is free and open to the public. Learn more, here.

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