After checking out the Clippers defeat the Lakers at Staples on Wednesday night (blog post to follow) I decided to check out the BCS Championship Game at the Rose Bowl.
The Rose Bowl web site didn't provide that much information on tickets sales, as it was the BCS Championship Game I assumed it was sold out with so many Alabama and Texas fans in LA. Either way I thought I'd see what was on offer at the ESPN Tailgate Party.
I arrived in Pasadena and parked on the golf course next to the Rose Bowl (the greens keeper definitely earns his money after 90,000 people park, walk and tailgate all over the course). Several “traditional” tailgators were setup in the parking lot – no expense spared: big screen TVs, satellite dish, , BBQs and large eskys (or coolers as they are called in US). This was 7 hours before the game kickoff!
The ESPN Tailgate cost $25 to enter but with little else on offer it was the place to be. ESPN as presenting partner was everywhere, including the College Football team broadcasting the pre-game show. Other sponsors included Taco Bell, AT&T, XBox, All-State & Direct TV.
Getting fans active was a big success with most fans drawn to attractions where they got to throw, pass or kick. Giveaways were a close second no matter how small the freebie on offer was the fans were attracted like bees to honey. Taco Bell did will with the Couch Touchdown and the Obstacle course. AT& T tent was always full, fans lined up for hours to get autographs from former Alabama & Texas stars like Vince Yound and Ricky Williams
There was plenty of food stalls all doing a roaring trade, unfortunately the bar service was deplorable. I don't know if it was by design or not but I did talk to a few fans who were more than annoyed at the slow service. Perhaps ID verified wristbands and more bar staff would have made an improvement.
Not expecting to attend the game I headed off to watch the game on TV, I avoided several people trying to sell tickets upwards of $350 (by people I mean scalpers at 150%+ of face value (side note: 15 arrests for scalping)). After talking to some Texas fans tailgating near my car I found out the game wasn't sold out and single tickets were available. So with ticket in hand I entered the Rose Bowl. Other than it being a hard stadium to get navigate (then again 94,000 people do provide logistics problems) it was an awesome game. Unlucky for the Texas Longhorns to lose QB Colt McCoy in the first quarter, but congrats the Alabama on winning the game. Fans of college football love their teams, everybody I mean everybody was wearing team colors I have no doubt you could pick me out in the TV coverage as I was wearing a grey hoodie amongst a sea of orange and crimson. It's easy to see the why the focus on pre-game activities as most fans stood, cheered, hollered ALL game never leaving their seats.
I have so much more to report but I've gotta go… more sport, never enough.