100th Rose Bowl Game Showcases Spartan Pride, Pasadena Pageantry

Jan 1 2014, 7:23pm CST | by

100th Rose Bowl Game Showcases Spartan Pride, Pasadena Pageantry
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

Incremental increase in visitor spending?  $140 million. (Allegedly…we’ll discuss this.)

Payout to both the Pac-12 and Big Ten Conferences, separately, for having their teams in the game?  $18 million.

Value of the Rose Bowl to Michigan State, Stanford, and the city of Pasadena?  Well, that depends.

For the first time, I experienced Pasadena on New Years Day.  One must experience it in person to realize the impact the event has upon the community, though I suspect the impact is perhaps as much cultural as it is economic.

Whether from my view in press row, or roaming Colorado Street prior to the New Years Day parade, or hanging out in Santa Monica in the days before the game, it is clear that the enthusiasm from Michigan State supporters is greater than that stemming from the Stanford faithful.  And understandably so:

- The Spartans are playing in their first ever BCS bowl game in this the last year of the BCS, this is their first Rose Bowl since 1988, and Michigan weather this time of year is anything but balmy;

- Conversely, the Cardinal are playing in their second consecutive Rose Bowl, and like last year’s game, this game does not have any bearing on them winning the national championship.  Furthermore, many of the Stanford fans live within an hour’s drive from Pasadena…so for them, the destination doesn’t present the same luster as it does for Spartan fans.

And the prices on the secondary market reflect the intense demand for the game, likely caused more so by the Spartan fans.  There is evidence that secondary prices have exceeded $1000…only second behind the national championship game between Auburn and Florida State at the same location on January 6th.

Because Michigan State has not been on this stage in a long time, it is highly likely that they will see a positive spike in visibility and exposure for their brand.  This will certainly enhance their recruiting efforts, and potentially boost alumni giving and admission applications.  For Stanford, these spin-offs are not likely to be as large.

As for the economic impact upon Pasadena, I have no doubt that this particular game has generated more economic impact than your typical bowl game.  With attendance exceeding 90,000, with roughly 60% of those in attendance supporting MSU, and with the large majority of those folks coming from all points east of California, that amounts to a small invasion of travelers spending 4-7 days in the Greater LA area.

That said, the impact findings linked at the top of this article were conducted before the event.  I’m always skeptical of such studies because they fail to obtain survey feedback from attendees…and that’s a must.  Furthermore, I suspect that whatever impact has occurred is spread out throughout the Greater LA area…not just confined to Pasadena.

But what I learned from attending the parade on Wednesday morning was that the Rose Parade is a source of local pride for Southern Californians of all walks of life.  Well produced, civil crowds, and lots of air mattresses as folks lined Colorado Ave to get their prime viewing location for the morning start.

The biggest benefit the region receives is the marketing exposure which the Rose Parade and Rose Bowl confer.  Ratings are high, people across America are watching this game taking place in beautiful weather, and thus is serves to promote the region and possible inspire future tourism.


Patrick is an Economics Professor at the George Herbert Walker School of Business and Technology at Webster University in St Louis, MO, and the Founder/Director of Sportsimpacts.  Follow him on Twitter.

Source: Forbes Business


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