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Disappointing season could hurt bowl ticket sales

BY HAYLEY BRUCE | DECEMBER 06, 2010 7:20 AM

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Despite a disheartening season, local travel agencies are booking fans bowl-game trips, though they expect fewer reservations than last year.

Even before officials formally announced Iowa's pairing against Missouri in the Dec. 28 Insight Bowl, some University of Iowa students expressed disappointment.

"I think expectations coming into this year were really high, and the fact that the way we ended was on a losing streak, you can't really get excited about going to the bowl game at all," said UI junior Joe Jensen, who said he has no plans to attend the bowl game. "I know absolutely no one going."

The Hawkeyes officially accepted the invitation to Tempe, Ariz., on Sunday evening.

Even before the official announcement, Winebrenner Red Carpet Travel in Iowa City had booked 175 Iowa football fans on a bowl package.

General manager Terry Tegen said the agency first began planning in the summer and adjusted as the season progressed.

Travel packages for airfare and hotel are ranging between $1,500 and $1,800.

Tegen said he expects to sell about 25 percent fewer tickets than last year but said he thinks there will still be a strong turnout because a large number of Midwesterners live and vacation in Arizona.

"There's no doubt about the fact that BCS games like the Orange Bowl are going to be larger than other bowls affiliated with the Big Ten," he said. "But this is a great deal for the Hawkeyes, this a great deal for the Hawkeye fans, and this is the same city they play the Fiesta Bowl in, so let's be happy; this is wonderful."

Tegen said the agency plans to sell at least 525 packages, filling three planes to Phoenix.

Last year, Winebrenner Red Carpet Travel had booked 700 fans' trips by the night of the announcement, and it eventually took 1,200 fans.

UI junior Tom Rynne, who won't attend because of financial reasons and a disappointing season, said there will likely still be a decent turnout.

"I think [fans] will turn out just because there's just so many people in Arizona from the Midwest," he said. "A lot of people shoot for the Hawkeyes, it's a big school, and a lot of people really follow the team and will be down to go."

But UI senior Colin Malanaphy said the way the season went this year will keep him home.

"I might have been able to afford to go if they played a little better," he said. "If they had played up to expectations, I would make more of an effort."

Despite the disappointment, Tegan has faith the stands at the Insight Bowl will be filled with black and gold.

"They're going to go out and support their team no matter how this ended," Tegen said. "Right now, everyone is still upset about the season, but these Hawkeye fans will support their team and a bowl game, and they will be there, and there will be a great turnout."

The Hawkeyes will face the Missouri Tigers at 9 p.m. on Dec. 28.


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