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Bowl Game Big for Las Vegas Business | News

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Bowl Game Big for Las Vegas Business

LAS VEGAS - Tens of thousands of Boise State and Arizona State fans descended on Las Vegas for the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas. The football game took place at Sam Boyd Stadium Thursday night, but most of the visitors are spending the night and their money on the Strip.

While the bowl game is what brought an estimated 35,000 fans to Las Vegas, ticket sales represent a fraction of what they'll spend here.

"Including airfare and all that, I don't know, it's gonna' be a couple thousand bucks probably," Boise State fan Nick Carlile said.

"We are here for four nights, and we're gonna' go to the "O" show while we're here and do some other things," Boise State fan Sandy Hemenway said.

Financially speaking, the bowl game pitting the Broncos and Sun Devils is more like a pre-show. The millions of dollars the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas scores for our city is the main event.

"We're coming down here to enjoy ourselves, and now we're going to spend some money," Carlile said. "It's just kind of the cost of going to the game."

The Las Vegas Bowl has generated nearly $200 million in non-gaming revenue for the local economy during the last 20 years. While it's too early to tell exactly how much fans will spend this year, Sam Boyd Stadium workers are already seeing the benefits.

MyEsha Davis is one of many employees who rely on big events for a paycheck.

"I get hours. Without this, I wouldn't make hours. There probably wouldn't even be an event without this," she said. "I wouldn't have a job. I'd be somewhere else, struggling, depending on the state to help me right now."

Vendors for the game aren't complaining. "It's putting people to work. It helps us. It helps cheer up the atmosphere," said vendor Elaine Gifford.

Community leaders organized the first Las Vegas Bowl game in 2001 when they needed to fill hotel rooms during a traditionally slow period. Executive Director Tina Kunzer-Murphy says the bowl has grown every year since.

"It's been a great piece of the business that comes to Las Vegas the week prior to Christmas," she said.

Hard Rock and Mandalay Bay are the host hotels for the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas. ESPN actually owns it. The sports network handles organization, operations and marketing for the event.