JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Jacksonville is expected to be a player when the BCS puts their national title game up for bid, and city leaders say there is no reason the city can't host a game just as it did the Super Bowl in 2005.
The Bowl Championship Series commissioners reportedly have approved a new four team playoff, with the semifinal games to be played within the bowl system.
Cities will then bid on the national championship game as is the Super Bowl.
"It will be like a Super Bowl," said Rick Catlett of the Gator Bowl Association. "I think we have a great chance to land a game. We hosted the Super Bowl and proved we could run it. We put on a great bowl game. Jacksonville comes together for major events and this is a major event. We have been working on this for 15-20 years and now the bidding process is out there."
College presidents still have to vote on the plan next week but it is expected to pass.
"It will be a $200 million economic impact," said Catlett. "One advantage we have is we have 84,000 seats, more than most stadiums around the country. That is one reason we got the Super Bowl in 2005. The BCS will keep the ticket revenue and suite revenue so having more seats means more money for the BCS. The city will have to raise money to pay for the events surrounding the big game. Ninety to 100-thousand people could come to town, even though only 84,000 will have a ticket. "
Alan Verlander, executive director of Jacksonville Sports and Entertainment, says this event will have a measurable economic impact for years to come if it comes to Jacksonville.
"It will be a community effort, the city, the mayor's office, the Jaguars, Rick Catlett and business leaders. We will get together and put together a bid and I think Jacksonville has as much to sell as any city in the country."
Catlett says he expects the BCS to select six to ten cities at one time when the games go up for bids.
"We will take our Super Bowl bid, the BCS manual on how to run these games, and get city business leaders together. Then we will come up with a bid and make a presentation when the time comes."
Catlett is confident the city will host one of the games.
"Jacksonville has everything necessary to host a game. We have many more hotel rooms in the area than we did in 2005 when we had to have cruise ships come in. We are in great shape."
First Coast News