December 10, 2004
A Tempe city councilman is pressing Arizona State University to snatch the Insight Bowl from Phoenix in exchange for $6 million to expand its main campus.
Councilman Ben Arredondo wants the university to replace the outgoing Fiesta Bowl before the city pays for the infrastructure needed to build additional dormitories and research facilities.
"We need to work with (ASU) and get this done before we start giving them money," Arredondo said.
Virgil Renzulli, vice president of public affairs for ASU, said he would not comment on Arredondo's statements, adding that the university has maintained a good working relationship with the councilman.
Renzulli said replacing the Fiesta Bowl, which moves to Glendale in 2006, would benefit the city and the university. The contract between Phoenix and the Insight Bowl expires in 2006.
"Since we learned that the Fiesta Bowl was leaving, we have worked closely the City Council, in particularly Councilman Arredondo, to have the Insight Bowl," Renzulli said.
Last month, in a strongly worded letter to Tempe council members, ASU President Michael Crow said the city should pay for additional sewer lines and storm drains to accommodate the university's growth.
"At a time in which we are developing the vision for the Tempe Campus to almost double in size over the next decade, it distresses me to learn the that while the City is beginning to develop the necessary infrastructure plans, we are being asked to bear the brunt of this initial cost in the range of $6,000,000," Crow wrote in the Nov. 12 letter.
Before a move could take place, city officials said the bowl game would have to bring in a top-tier team to fill Sun Devil Stadium.
If Tempeand ASU are able to lure the Insight Bowl out of Phoenix, it would only blunt the economic loss of the Fiesta Bowl. A study released in 2003 by the WP Carey Sports Business Program at ASU found that the Fiesta Bowl generated $153 million, compared with $24.4 million generated by the Insight Bowl.
The Insight Bowl is played at Bank One Ballpark, which holds about 44,000 people. Sun Devil Stadium seats about 75,000, according to ASU's Web site.
Shawn Schoeffler, vice president of media relations for the Insight Bowl, said they have been aware of Tempe's interest in the game.
"We are going to stay focused on the next two games," he said.
Tempe City Manager Will Manley, who has discussed the Insight Bowl with Arredondo, said the game would have to increase its payout to compete for the higher-ranked teams.
"The better the payout, the better the teams, and the better the teams, the better the draw," Manley said.
The bowl now pays each team about $750,000, which is the minimum amount required by the National Collegiate Athletic Association, according to Insight Bowl officials.
The Insight Bowl is contracted to host the third-place team from the Big East Conference and the fourth-place team from the PAC-10 Conference.
This year the Insight Bowl will host two unranked teams as Notre Dame (6-5) squares off against Oregon State University (6-5) on Dec. 28. Although the Fighting Irish are not affiliated with a football conference, they are eligible for the game because they are not playing for a national championship.