This year marks the third annual college football Nova Arizona Bowl, in which the winner of the Mountain West Conference and Sun Belt Conference will face off. The bowl game offers more than just football and camaraderie – it also donates all proceeds to local nonprofits and generates economic activity.
Sanctioned by the NCAA in 2015, the Arizona Bowl has grown significantly in just three years. According to executive director Kym Adair, 2015 saw attendance of 20,000 people and a $15 million economic impact. In just two years, these numbers grew to 43,000 people and a $33 million economic impact – 115 and 120 percent increases, respectively.
Adair points out that Nova donates all of the profits of the bowl game to charity. “100 percent of our net proceeds go to charity,” she said. “Southern Arizona and all of Arizona is activated to help the success of the bowl, because it helps put money back into local charities.”
She explains that for the past few years, the donations have been largely youth- and teacher-centered. Notably, Nova has contributed to local Boys & Girls Clubs of Tucson as well as Tu Nidito, a local nonprofit that supports grieving children. Additionally, last year, Nova donated $50,000 in grants to Tucson teachers – money they can use directly in their classrooms for supplies, learning resources, and more.
In addition to its philanthropic and economic impacts, the Nova Arizona Bowl also offers plenty of events and activities surrounding the game. On December 28th, Nova is hosting the University of Arizona Downtown Block Party at Armory Park, which will feature cheerleaders, a battle of the bands, amusement rides, a kid-friendly area, and more.
After the game on the 29th, Nova will host their annual tailgate party at the University of Arizona, which has something for everyone.
“Right after the game, we have our Desert Diamond Casino tailgate party, which features a performance by the Billboard 100 band Everclear,” Adair said. “It’s a family friendly event, so there will be a kid zone, but there are also plenty of activities for adults.”
Adair points out that because of southern Arizona’s unparalleled hospitality, visitors get experiences they’ve never had before. She hopes to continue this momentum and make the Arizona Bowl a top destination in college football. “It’s the same idea as the Phoenix Open,” she explains. “It’s not necessarily about who’s playing — you just want to be there. We want that same mentality for the Arizona Bowl.”
And if Nova continues to do what they have been for the past three years, then it can certainly get there.
Additional information about the Nova Arizona Bowl’s charity work and how local organizations can get involved can be found on their website.