Local businesses looking to cash in on visitors for Sun Bowl


POSTED: Thursday, December 26, 2013 - 10:28pm

UPDATED: Thursday, December 26, 2013 - 11:15pm

The sweet sounds of the Sun Bowl filled the Sun City today as both teams playing in this year's game arrived at El Paso International Airport.
The game isn't just big for sports fans, it's also big for El Paso businesses.

The Virginia Tech and UCLA teams both arrived Thursday and they're going to have a very busy week here in the Sun City.

In addition to several practices the teams will also visit the children's hospital at Providence; they'll dine with local troops, and on Sunday, both teams are going shopping.

With their arrival comes family, friends and fans, all looking to enjoy their time in El Paso.

Local businesses are looking to take advantage of the increase in visitors this week.

"I think everyone benefits from it and i think it is something great for our city," said Jesse Acevendo, manager at Lecchese.

The store has been helping players in the Sun Bowl go from cleats to boots for years.

"El Paso is the boot capitol of the world," said Acevendo.

It's become a tradition for players to purchase a pair before the big game. A financial boost for the store.

"It's just a big impact on our business, just along with the hotels and the restaurants," he said.

El Paso Hotel Motel Association president, Danny Padilla, sid the economic impact the city sees from the game all depends on where the schools are from.

"There are some years that we do very well as an industry, where we bring in not only the teams, but a lot of alumni and fans of the particular teams,” Padilla said. “And there are years where we don't do well.

This year hotels aren't booked. In fact Padilla says things have been slow.

"But that is not to say that they are not coming,” he said. “They may just be trickling in a little at a time."

The game isn't sold out. Right now ticket sales stand at 42,000, about 80% of capacity with only a week to go.

Back at Lecchese, staff is gearing up for the rush of business this weekend.

"Word of mouth is a big deal for us as well," said Acevendo.

Knowing a good experience will bring people back.

If you want to purchase your tickets to the game, you can buy them online or at the Sun Bowl Association office located on the Westside of El Paso at 4150 Pinnacle St., Suite 100. For more information please call 915-533-4416 from Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.


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