SHREVEPORT, La. (KSLA) - We now know the date and kickoff time for the 2019 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl.
It will be played Dec. 26, the day after Christmas Day.
Kickoff will be at 3 p.m. in Shreveport’s Independence Stadium.
Every year, the I-Bowl - now the 11th oldest bowl game in college football - puts the Northwest Louisiana city in the national spotlight.
This year’s date and kickoff time are seen as improvements over the games played the past two years on ESPN.
“What we’re most excited about is that game time," said Erik Evenson, spokesman for the Walk-On’s Independence Bowl. "It’s not a 12:30 game anymore. It’s a 3 o’clock time for the game. So it’s a little bit later.”
A later start allows fans to do some tailgating beforehand and lets local ticket holders to take half a day off work to catch the game, he explained.
Chris Jay, of the Shreveport-Bossier Tourist Bureau, explained the significance of Dec. 26: “The day after Christmas could either be a challenge or not so much of a challenge, depending on which teams are involved.”
If the selected teams are well within driving distance of Shreveport, the Dec. 26 game date is expected to bode well for bowl attendance, Jay said.
On the other hand, he said, Dec. 26 might be a bit problematic if the teams are not in this region.
"If a fan base has to fly in, for example, to attend the game, then the day after Christmas might be tough."
Every year, we hear about the millions and millions of dollars the game provides in economic impact.
What you might not hear much about is the time between Thanksgiving and the start of the new year. That window is typically a dead time for the hotel industry.
And that’s why this game puts more heads in beds in which you might call a win-win situation.
Evenson elaborated on exactly why it’s better for the bowl game and local businesses if more people come to town: “They’re sleeping in our hotels. They’re eating at our restaurants, spending money here in the Shreveport-Bossier City area.”
Talks already are underway on conference affiliations after this year’s I-Bowl.
Some predict the bowl's $1.2 million payout per team must rise after nearly two decades at that rate - or risk an uncertain future.
The date that tickets to the 2019 Walk-On’s Independence Bowl will go on sale has yet to be announced.
Individual tickets will start at $30 for end-zone seats and $45 for sideline bench seats.
Discounted group ticket packages also will be available.