The Breakdown | Explaining Southern California's economy
Business & Economy

UPDATE: New College Football Playoff keeps Rose Bowl relevant and dollars flowing into SoCal

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Listen to

Download this 1.0MB

People will still call it the Rose Bowl. Kick-off will still be at 2 p.m. on New Year's Day.

But on January 1, 2015, the college gridiron matchup in Pasadena will serve another purpose: It will be one of two semifinal games in the new College Football Playoff. The two-tier playoff system will replace the Bowl Championship Series (BCS).

On Tuesday, the Rose Bowl was named as one of five college bowl games that will rotate as the venue for the football semifinals along with Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex.

The other bowl games included in the new playoff are the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans, site of the other semifinal game in 2015; Miami's Orange Bowl; he Chick-fil-A Bowl in Atlanta; and the Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz. 

Cowboys Stadium will host the first College Football Playoff championship game on Jan. 12, 2015.

So now every three years, instead of welcoming teams from PAC 12 and Big 10 schools, the Rose Bowl game will feature two of the top four teams in the country, regardless of their conference. College football powerhouses like LSU or Oklahoma, who do not normally play in the game in Pasadena, could have more regular appearances.

Rose Bowl general manager Darryl Dunn said their legions of fans would love to watch a game in Pasadena's historic football venue. 

"It would be for many of them that 'bucket list' item," said Dunn. "Chances are it would be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for them to see their team playing on that kind of stage."

Paul Little, president of the Pasadena Chamber of Commerce, said a typical Rose Bowl game generates about $30 million in direct spending in Pasadena.  

"That's people who actually come with a dollar and the dollar actually stays in Pasadena when they go home," said Little. Spending in the rest of Southern California is in the range of $130 million, he said.  

Pasadena only has 2,500 hotel rooms, and they're at a premium. Most require a three-night stay during the Rose Bowl. The teams and media have stayed in designated hotels in downtown L.A. and Century City. Fans stay in hotels as far away as Newport Beach and visit tourist attractions around Southern California.   

Little said the Rose Bowl game dollars ebb and flow depending on the teams, citing the Wisconsin Badgers' recent back-to-back appearances as an example.   

"First year: very exciting, lots of people came. Second year: very exciting, NOT as many people came," said Little. "So the impact might not be as great."  

That's why Little is also excited about welcoming fans of the great college programs that have rarely - or never - made it to the Rose Bowl. The "bucket list" or "once in a lifetime" nature of their visit means they're ready to spend money.    

"When someone's coming out here for an event like that, they are here to make the most of it," said Little.  

There's been a taste of that whenever the Rose Bowl has hosted the BCS Championship Game. It will host the last national title game under the BCS system next January 6.

This story has been corrected to remove a reference that Oklahoma would play in its first ever Rose Bowl game. Oklahoma played in 2003.