College Football Hall of Fame Coach Lou Holtz said, “If what you did yesterday seems big, you have not done anything yet.” What if purchasing a ticket to a college football bowl game could create “big” economic impacts on the local community and cure cancer? The Orlando Sports Foundation hoped to accomplish these goals when ESPN contacted business leaders to bring a new college bowl game to the Central Florida market.
“With two well-established bowl games in the region, this football game had to attract attention,” Alan Gooch, Executive Director of the Orlando Sports Foundation, broadcasted. “Each bowl bears and shoulders a charitable component, but it is not at the forefront of the game. The Orlando Sports Foundation decided its bowl game would increase economic growth throughout the local community and directly tie into a charitable cause.”
A Bowl with a Cause
Every two minutes a woman in the United States is diagnosed with breast cancer. Therefore, the initial Board of Directors selected breast cancer research toward discovering a cure as its focus, acknowledging cancer takes no timeouts or holidays. Cancer’s executed game plan: kick, tackle and destroy the lives of those who involuntarily entered its end zone.
The Orlando Sports Foundation’s goal: educate partners, sponsors, college athletes and fans of the importance of breast cancer research. Therefore, the philanthropic effort would be permanently incorporated into the game title. Thus, the Cure Bowl was born.
“The AutoNation Cure Bowl is more than a college football game,” Gooch announced. “It is a celebration of women who are living with breast cancer today and those who will face it tomorrow. It is a reminder of those who lost the battle and hope for those who fight to survive. It is a rally cry raising awareness and funds to help bring an end to this ravaging disease.”
Three Years Strong
The inaugural AutoNation Cure Bowl took the field on December 19, 2015, at the newly renovated, state-of-the- art Camping World Stadium offering an enhanced fan experience. Now in its third year, AutoNation continues to be the title sponsor combining its passion for college football with the importance of supporting the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, the nation’s highest rated breast cancer organization, as it aims to eradicate cancer.
“By investing in public awareness programs and research, we all have the power to transform this diagnosis and save lives,” Gooch explained. “To date, net proceeds from the AutoNation Cure Bowl to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation is approximately $2.4 million.”
Be Part of the Cure
Since 1993, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation has been deeply involved in every major breakthrough in breast cancer prevention, diagnosis, treatment and survivorship. It supports more than 235 researchers at leading medical and academic institutions across the globe including those in the Sunshine State.
Central Florida is a hub of activity in generating the next great life science clusters. In addition to its fun and world- renowned theme parks, the area welcomes world-class names in research, development and healthcare, including Lake Nona’s Medical City. Because of this, the AutoNation Cure Bowl may be just down the road from where the cure for breast cancer is someday discovered.
Financial Impact of a Florida Bowl Game
College bowl games do not fumble in Florida. Instead, each bowl game benefits Florida on a local, regional and state level attracting approximately 300,000 attendees. More than any other state, Florida hosts nine bowl games generating $380 million and producing approximately 3,400 jobs across the economy.
The AutoNation Cure Bowl is nationally televised on the CBS Sports Network featuring opponents from the American Conference and Sun Belt Conference. CBS Sports Network viewers have the highest mean household income of approximately $88,200 among all national sports networks. Central Florida is a top-20 television market with 1.4 million viewers.
Economic Footprint on the Community
Cities hosting college bowls are the real winners of each game. The attention given to the region through advertising, social media exposure, and the broadcast of the AutoNation Cure Bowl provides a significant boost to the state’s tourism marketing efforts.
The AutoNation Cure Bowl features unique amenities and entertainment associated with Central Florida – the vacation capital of the world. For decades, families traveled to this paradise to partake, enjoy, explore and experience the wonders of the Sunshine State. They come to relax and revive their spirit.
The AutoNation Cure Bowl generates an annual $20 million economic imprint, influence and significance to Florida as it draws thousands of sports fans. The visiting teams and football enthusiasts stay in Florida hotels, purchase flights, rent cars, eat and drink at restaurants, shop for souvenirs and visit world-renowned theme parks. Each spends money on the local economy, all while paying state and local taxes.
“It is worthy and critical to note the financial incentive this bowl game secures and delivers to our community and state,” Gooch said. “The five-year projections discern a financial footprint of $100 million to the Central Florida region.”
Combined, college football and a cure for cancer is the ultimate touchdown. Together, partners, sponsors, players and fans can tackle breast cancer!