Money woes and the inability to find a primary sponsor ultimately doomed the 2013 Kanza Bowl game, committee member and sponsor Jim Parrish said. In 2012 the game featured a local team in Emporia State, good weather, and a record crowd of 4,300 and still lost almost $10,000 Parrish said.
Parrish Hotels sponsored the game in 2012 but Parrish said the bowl game was looking for another sponsor, or group of smaller sponsors, to host the game. However the start of football season is less than a month away and with no money in place, the Kanza Bowl Committee decided to cancel the 2013 contest. ”We’ll try to regroup and have a great game in 2014,” Parrish said.
The Kanza Bowl began in 2009 and was played at Hummer Sports Park in Topeka. The game featured the teams from the Mid-America Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA) and a team from the Lone Star Conference with the best records that did not qualify for the NCAA Division II football playoffs.
Parrish said the bowl committee had not had time to issue an official press release; a statement issued Wednesday by the MIAA broke the news. However, a spokesman for the MIAA told Kansas First News the conference was notified Tuesday about the cancellation.
“We are disappointed to receive this news,” stated MIAA Commissioner, Dr. Bob Boerigter. “The Kanza Bowl Committee had done a great job of providing an educational, competitive and enjoyable experience for our student-athletes and participating institutions. We are very grateful for the efforts that the Kanza Bowl Committee has put into past events and thank them for helping to create some fine memories for our student-athletes and fans.”
Topeka businesses will miss out on hundreds of dollars worth of money from people visiting the city for the game. Visit Topeka Inc. estimates the game in 2012 had an economic impact of approximately $400,000. That figure is based on an announced attendance of 4,300 people and the assumption that each person spends an average of $100 per day explained Jeff Alderman, Sales Director for Visit Topeka.
The game drew crowds of at least 3,000 in 2009, 2010, and 2012. In 2011 announced attendance was 465 on a cold, windy day. Alderman said the economic impact for ’09 and ’10 was at least $300,000. It should be noted, Alderman said, the actual economic impact may be different because Washburn University played in 2010 and Emporia State in 2012, and the number of fans renting hotel rooms was lower.
With the 2013 game cancelled, Parrish said the bowl committee will focus on promoting the Junior Kanza Bowl and securing a sponsor or sponsors for 2014.