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Newport says rah-rah to football

City hotels and restaurants are eager to play host to the players — and their entourages — in the 2014 Bowl Championship Series.

October 04, 2013|By Emily Foxhall
  • Alabama's Eddie Lacy scored two touchdowns during last years BCS title game, which Alabama won, 42-14 against Notre Dame..
Alabama's Eddie Lacy scored two touchdowns during… (Joel Auerbach /…)

Step aside, sailing aficionados. The football fans are coming to Newport Beach.

Restaurant and hotel managers throughout the city are joining in preparation for the 2014 Bowl Championship Series game Jan. 6. Although the game will be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, the players, bands, media and alumni associations will spend their nights in Newport Beach.

With the teams will come a whole host of supporters, creating what city organizers believe will be the largest event cohort that Newport Beach has ever entertained.

The economic impact may total $6 million to $7 million, according to a calculator developed by the Destination Marketing Assn. International.

The idea behind hosting BCS championship groups here began in 2010, the first year that both the BCS Rose Bowl game and the rotating BCS championship game were played at the Rose Bowl.

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It's part of an effort to separate the Rose Bowl game — which takes place Jan. 1 — and championship game experiences, said Kevin Ash, chief administrative officer of the Rose Bowl game.

Many, but not all, of the groups participating in the championship game stayed in Newport Beach in 2010.

The event organizers liked having participants in each of the games loosely organized in distinct areas.

"What we did was we created two different areas where people could come early if they wanted to. They'd feel unique to that particular game," Ash said. "People want to have a good experience, a good bowl week experience."

And so they plan to duplicate the separation this year, with Rose Bowl players staying in Los Angeles.

Guests in Newport Beach will realize when they arrive that the city has "rolled out the red carpet" for them, said Amanda Kliem, a national sales manager at Visit Newport Beach, the city's tourism bureau.

Kliem, a devoted Michigan State football fan, led the effort to bring BCS championship players, bands and fans to Newport Beach.

"The BCS requires, just like we provide, lots of beds," she said, explaining the benefits of housing everyone in one city — especially a city like Newport Beach.

Newport is more than a comfy place to sleep, and Kliem cannot wait to show off what she describes as the "pristine coastline" and "aspirational lifestyle" that make the area unique. She has no doubt that area will live up to the image acquired from television shows about Orange County.

"The direct experience is better than any other kind of marketing," Kliem said.

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