College football bowl games were started for one reason — to bring in tourist dollars by inviting two groups of fans to town for a football game. That was the gist. All of it. Nothing more. And that remains the case today. Bowl selection committees look at a lot of factors, but in the end they will pick the schools that they believe will draw the most fans to town and catch the most eyeballs on television.
For that reason, Mississippi State fans did their school a big favor this past December. The Music City Bowl drew more than 55,000 fans and an estimated 37,000 of them came from out of town to fill up more than 26,000 hotel rooms. MSU’s enrollment is more than 20,000. Wake Forest — the Dogs’ opponent — has an enrollment of less than 5,000. It’s safe to say that most of the people traveling to Tennessee for the game had ties to State, not Wake.
Now figure in how much food, booze, gasoline, souvenirs, and other items those people purchased and you can grasp why Music City Bowl officials claim their game had a $22.2 million economic impact on the city of Nashville.
And you can be certain that other bowl committees will consider those numbers the next time Mississippi State becomes available to their postseason exhibition.