SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) - It’s one of the biggest events of the year for Shreveport — putting the city in the national spotlight for well over 3 hours.
But after last year's success, there are questions whether this year's Independence Bowl game will deliver the same kind of 'economic shot in the arm.'
The Walk-on’s Bistreaux & Bar Independence Bowl this year features the Duke Blue Devils versus the Temple Owls, with attendance often the big question for this 43rd annual bowl game.
And while the I-Bowl is now the 11th oldest bowl game in the country, there is always pressure to get fans in the seats.
Chris Jay is the Shreveport Convention & Tourist Bureau's Public Relations Director. He said while this year may not feature a marquee matchup, the work behind the scenes has been thoughtful and thorough.
"What I see, and this is just me personally, is a whole lot of hustle from the sponsors and from the people who put the game together, more than than I can remember in the past."
Jay told us that hustle includes a host of pre-game and game day events — one even offers a new Ford F-250 Pickup Truck to a ticket holder who's at the game.
"They're trying to find other ways to make people want to get their butts in the seats."
Jay said last year's game delivered almost $8 million in direct spending, counting everything from restaurants and hotels to gas stations, with the overall economic impact likely double that.
One of the areas that could potentially benefit the most from those events this year is the Red River District in downtown Shreveport.
That's because the night before the game there will be a parade and a pep rally right starting at the Louisiana Boardwalk in Bossier City and ending in the Red River District in Shreveport.
Chase Boytim, owner of Fatty Arbuckle's Pub, said the team match-up likely does affect the bottom line.
“Most people I’ve talked to said ‘yes.’ But, you know, I don’t know that much about those two schools individually,” Boytim said. “But, you know, we’re going to do our thing and hopefully they come out here and, you know, it’ll be a fun time regardless.”