Jan 3, 2022 - Sports

Bowl games bring fans, dollars to town

Fans watch the Penn State marching band during the Outback Bowl parade in Ybor City.
Fans watch the Penn State marching band during the Outback Bowl parade in Ybor City. Photo: Ben Montgomery/Axios

Tampa Bay rolled out the welcome mat for tens of thousands of football fans from Arkansas, Penn State, UCF and UF for the Gasparilla Bowl and the Outback Bowl, a lift to the local economy and another chance for the region to shine.

Why it matters: Fans of the Razorbacks and Nittany Lions packed bars, restaurants and clubs in Sparkman Wharf, Ybor City and other entertainment districts this weekend, spending lots of outside money and enjoying our beautiful weather, scenery and Raymond James Stadium.

  • Gasparilla Bowl: UCF beat UF 29-17 in front of 63,669 fans — a new Gasparilla Bowl attendance record — on Dec. 23, though the game was marred by a scrum after the game.
  • Outback Bowl: Arkansas beat Penn State 24-10 on New Year's Day in front of 46,577 fans.

What they’re saying: "The Outback Bowl was tremendous this week," said Arkansas head coach Sam Pittman. "They were just outstanding. … I mean, the police officers that took us around from place to place, hospitality, the events. The University of Arkansas is just so happy to have been a part of the 2022 Outback Bowl."

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