2018 Outback Bowl Expected To Bring Tourists and Money To Tampa Bay

Dec 22, 2017

Tampa Bay businesses will be laying out the welcome mat for fans arriving ahead of the 2018 Outback Bowl on New Year's Day.

Economists say college football's bowl season is a boon to host cities.

This year's event pits the Michigan Wolverines and the South Carolina Gamecocks at Raymond James Stadium. The game will be a rematch of the 2013 contest that finished with the Gamecocks' 33-28 upset win with just 11 seconds remaining.

Some economists predict this year’s game will be a big win for Tampa-area hotels, bars, and restaurants.

Kyle Baltuch of the public policy group Florida Tax Watch says tourists typically spend about a thousand dollars when they visit the state.

"Just using our numbers in 2012, if you get between 54 and 55 thousand people you're looking at between $54 and $55 million dollars in economic impact," he said.

Teams playing in this year's bowl are scheduled to arrive in Tampa on December 26

Organizers say that over its history, the bowl has generated about $1 billion for the local economy. But Baltuch says the game also spurs employment, even if it is temporary.

"The typical number that everybody works off is about 85 to 1," he said. "So if you divide say 54,000 by 81, you're looking at about 635 jobs created." 

The Outback Bowl features the Southeastern Conference facing off against the Big Ten Conference. It  has been held in Tampa Bay for more than three decades.

Several events will lead up to the game, including  a Clearwater Beach Day pep rally and the Outback Bowl New Year's Eve Parade in Ybor City.

The game will kick off at 12 p.m. Monday, January 1.