EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — With the loss of the annual Tony the Tiger Sun Bowl game this year because of the pandemic, game officials are working on ways to give back to those who will be financially affected.
During the Sun Bowl, you’d normally see the Sun Bowl stadium packed with El Pasoans and tourists. With the bowl game being canceled this year, officials with the Sun Bowl Association said they’re looking ahead to next year and won’t entirely be left a stray.
“We hopefully will never have this incident happen again. We don’t know how we’re going to recover from that but we know one thing. We’ll be here next year and we’ll have to play the teams next year,” John Folmer, Football Committee Chairman and long-time Board Member of the Sun Bowl Association said.
On Monday, the annual Tony the Tiger Sun bowl game was announced officially canceled for 2020 due to the Covid-19 surge in El Paso to avoid any risk of further spreading the virus.
“The risk of putting so many people together in one place is going to be by now very predictable as far as the outcome,” Dr. Armando Meza, Chief of Infectious Diseases at Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center said.
The Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Association Bernie Olivas said there’s no exact number on the financial hit that will come from no game.
Olivas said the source of income usually comes from rental car taxes, CBS, title sponsors, and ticket sales.
However, Olivas said the association will actually be saving some money from the budgeted funds used to bring teams to play at the Sun Bowl which is $4.7 million total, “There’s a lot of things that go into, even just putting one bowl game, and a lot of those expenses we’re not going to have to realize this year. So hopefully we won’t lose any money this year but that’s our goal every year.”
Bryan Crowe with Destination El Paso said the annual Sun Bowl game generally has about $5.5 million to $6 million in direct economic impact to the community in previous years.
Crowe said one of the ways the City is helping local businesses is by doing a local feature each Wednesday through Destination El Paso’s social media and website while encouraging El Pasoans to support local.
Although the City will be economically impacted, Kellog’s Frosted Flakes said it will make sure Sun Bowl workers will receive their normal paycheck this holiday season, and plans on donating 1 million meals to El Paso food banks.
“They’ve been very generous last year, they made a huge donation to the food bank and this year they want to help those people who are not going to realize some of the profits they get from the football game,” Olivas said.
Officials with the Sun Bowl Association said they’re ready for 2021 especially when the vaccines for Covid are more accessible.