I am a fan of the Fiesta Bowl. Tourists descending on our community is important. Hotel rooms, hiking trails, and golf courses filled up with two fan bases have been an annual part of our holiday season for 50 years. The annual bowl used to be must-see viewing, but the game has become marginalized by the College Football Playoff. Most bowl games are just glorified exhibitions, no longer the community-centric feel or event.
If the Fiesta doesn’t have the semi-final or champ game, it’s just another three hours to fill out the ESPN broadcast schedule. I was watching the halftime show of today’s game between Iowa State and Oregon. No highlights or mention of the Fiesta Bowl until the last :15.
Sark hired by Texas, the upcoming Orange Bowl, and promoting the Ohio State vs. Alabama game is all ESPN put out for 14-minutes and 45 seconds.
The facts are, the business of college football has changed and will only continue to evolve, putting the bowls in a space where they need to make big changes too. If you don’t change, you go by the way of the dinosaurs. The Fiesta deserves better.
So rather than point out the pimple, I do have suggestions/solutions.
Players opting out is now going to be an annual occurrence. Not good to get a team and then a quarter of the roster says, “I’m done”. The way the Fiesta or others get around this is to look at bowl games to start the season. Laugh all you want, but it’s time for serious change.
What if the Fiesta Bowl and Arizona State could break bread and smooth over long-standing issues to get a game back at Sun Devil Stadium? Move the novelty of Chase Field out, and put it in Tempe. It’s a much more appealing venue for football.
What if our state hosted multiple bowl games over the course of a week with a centralized party center for sponsors and fans? Glendale has two trays. ASU, NAU, U of A, and even the new small-sized stadium that Arizona Christian and Phoenix Rising are putting together.
Empty seats at bowl games even before COVID-19 were common. The Final Four in college basketball is the model. Why couldn’t that happen here in Arizona? I’m only trying to help. I don’t want this great event to go the way of the T-Rex.