POSTED: Monday, January 2, 2012 - 6:01pm
UPDATED: Monday, January 9, 2012 - 10:20am
EL PASO - The Sun Bowl was expected to attract thousands of visitors and millions of dollars to El Paso, but some local businesses say that wasn't the case.
Final numbers from the Sun Bowl Association are not in when it comes to the economic impact of the big bowl game, but local hotels say it's not what they expected.
"Once we knew we were going to open, we did shoot for the Sun Bowl," Hilton Garden Inn Assistant Manager Vet Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez says she thought the Sun Bowl would have left her hotel sold out of rooms, instead only a few customers checked in.
"Unfortunately, maybe just two or three. We did good, but only because of an event that the hotel had. The Sun Bowl didn't bring much business, not this year at least," she said.
The Hilton Garden Inn isn't the only hotel that's had that problem. Managers at Americas Best Value Inn say they've sold out for the past three Sun Bowls, but not this year. That may be because the Sun Bowl's attendance was down by nearly 6,000 people. Rodriguez says that's because of the matchup.
"It all depends on what teams come, and what their fan base is," she said.
Now Rodriguez is hoping for more business, and she's looking forward to the next Sun Bowl.
"We do hope that it gets better next year. We do hope we have strong teams come in," she said.
Last year the Sun Bowl drew in $24.6 million for the city. The amount for this year is still unknown.
We called the Sun Bowl Association for comment, but the office was closed Monday, and nobody returned our calls.