February 14, 2005
San Francisco — The third time turned out to be the charm for the Emerald Bowl. The 3rd annual post-season college football game, played December 30 at AT&T Park, showed significant gains and established new records in several key areas.
Navy defeated New Mexico, 31-19, but from a financial standpoint, the most important numbers did not appear on the scoreboard. A record 30,563 tickets were sold, up 19% from last year. The in-stadium attendance of 28,856, also a record, was up 28% from the previous game. And the bowl's 2.04 television rating on ESPN2, another record, represented a 66% increase from last year's 1.23 mark.
The Emerald Bowl's TV ratings were the highest of the bowl games on ESPN2 and out-drew seven bowls televised on ESPN.
"We're thrilled with the results of this year's game," said Emerald Bowl Executive Director Gary Cavalli. "We had an outstanding football game, attracted a very good crowd, and drew terrific TV ratings. With better weather, we might have approached a sellout. Our challenge now is to build on this year's success and continue to grow the game in the future."
The bowl and the two participating teams, each of which were paid $750,000, weren't the only beneficiaries of this year's game. According to the San Francisco Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Emerald Bowl generated over $12 million in economic impact for the city and more than 25,000 room nights for local hotels.
"One of the main reasons for developing a bowl game in San Francisco was to create business for the city during the traditionally slow period between Christmas and New Year's," said John Marks, CEO of the Convention & Visitors Bureau and Chairman of the Bowl's Board of Directors. "This year I think we've turned the corner, not just in terms of the hospitality industry, but in terms of really establishing the game."