City and university leaders look for growth in Boca Raton Bowl’s second season

With a new sponsor and new teams, community hopes for more financial success and publicity.


Running back Devon Johnson (left) and linebacker Cortez Carter of the Thundering Herd hold the Boca Raton Bowl trophy in front of their cheering fans during the inaugural game in 2014. Max Jackson | Staff Photographer

Brendan Feeney, Contributing Writer

FAU Stadium is preparing to host the second annual Marmot Boca Raton Bowl on Dec. 22, where millions of dollars are expected be spent throughout the city during the game’s encore season.

Palm Beach County Commissioners estimated the Boca Bowl pumped at least $2.5 million into the local economy in its first year, according to WPTV NBC-5.

The figure comes from people who are visiting for the game because they “will likely stay in hotels, go out for meals, visit the amenities/attractions in the city/county,” explained Chrissy Biagiotti, communications and marketing manager for the city of Boca Raton.

Doug Mosley, executive director of the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl for ESPN said, “Our area is one that brings in a lot of out of town visitors.”

“[South Florida] is a place where teams and fans want to come to. It’s a beautiful place.”

This year’s game will feature the Toledo Rockets (9-2) from the Mid-American Conference going head to head with the American Athletic Conference’s Temple Owls (10-3).

Last year, Marshall University defeated Northern Illinois University 52-23 in the bowls’ inaugural game; this marked the first time a bowl game has been played in Palm Beach County.

The first rendition of the Boca Raton Bowl had an announced attendance of 29,419 seats and had a peak TV viewership of 2.25 million people according to the website, Sports TV Ratings.

“Our community is excited to serve as hosts for the Boca Raton Bowl,” said Florida Atlantic University’s Director of Athletics Patrick Chun in a statement to ESPN. “The national exposure associated with ESPN will be beneficial to our region, county, city and university on many levels. We look forward to building one of the best bowl experiences in college football.”

Marmot Corporation will be sponsoring this year’s game after last year’s bowl game went unsponsored. It will be the first time Marmot has sponsored a college football bowl game.

“I thought it was a great opportunity for us,” said Tom Fritz, vice president of marketing for Marmot. “As we’re growing our company we are trying to reach out to other outdoor enthusiasts. The benefits are still to be determined, but it’s an opportunity to gain a lot of publicity.”

The money Marmot pays to be the sponsor goes to the teams that participate.

Mosley said, “You provide a guarantee to the teams that participate.” The guarantees consist of tickets — which go to the teams’ fans — and cash — which goes to the teams. The cash is used for the teams’ travel necessities.

Each team receives a pay-out of $400,000 to play in the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl game, which is the third-lowest payout among all bowl games nation-wide.

The only two bowl games whose payouts are less are the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl — $325,000 — and the Raycom Media Camellia Bowl — $100,000.

Along with the payouts, the sponsors and local businesses provide each student athlete with $550 worth of merchandise. The $550 limit is set by the NCAA.

The Marmot Boca Raton Bowl offers a “Gift suite; beach towel; beach bag; Tervis tumbler; sunglasses; and sports flip-flops,” according to SB Nation.

Beats by Dre headphones and personal room refrigerators were two of the options that were included in last year’s gift suite, according to Mosley.

The City of Boca Raton has committed to a six-year sponsorship of the bowl game for $200,000 each year with the hope of gaining national attention, according to Biagiotti.

“The city’s name was integrated into the Bowl game name, giving the city national recognition, and the city also has two, 30-second commercial spots that play to a national audience during the game,” said Biagiotti. “We believe the game has a positive impact on the city and we are looking forward to watching it grow and develop.”

According to Mosley, the game — which will air on ESPN — is essentially a three and half hour advertisement for Boca Raton. National attention will be brought to the city since its name is in the bowl games’ official title.

MAC commissioner Jon A. Steinbrecher believes the Marmot Boca Raton Bowl “has all the ingredients for an excellent bowl game: great location, great facilities for student-athletes and fans and hungry teams,” as he stated to ESPN.

FAU President John Kelly sent out an email to all students, faculty and staff granting early departure on game day at noon to help divert congestion near gametime. Three hundred free tickets to the game were also given to FAU students from Student Government.

“As was the case during last year’s inaugural Boca Bowl, the game is a wonderful opportunity to showcase our beautiful Boca Raton campus on national television,” Kelly said.

Brendan Feeney is a contributing writer for the University Press. To contact him on this or other stories, he can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter.