What do talking pens, seven out-of-staters, and Basque cuisine all have in common? Boise and the Boise State University Broncos.
It has been 9 months and a few days since Boise State rocked the college football world with its unexpected victory in the Fiesta Bowl over Oklahoma outside Phoenix. They 'crashed' the BCS Bowl party with a wonderful season and then pulled out a play older than I am when they scored the winner on the 'Statue of Liberty'. It's been called a 'game for the ages'. Actually, it's been a game for BSU and for the city of Boise.
Fame in sports is fleeting. There is always another contest, always another 'star', always another 'upset of the century' i.e. Appalachia State over Michigan. But there may never have been a better nexus of victory on the field and victory in the market place like there has been here in Boise. It's all about exposure and how you use it. And they are using it.
On the University's side the numbers do all the talking. Since the game, merchandise revenues have gone up (even a 'talking pen' that replays the final play of the game), enrollment has gone up, recruitment of players and professors have also increased. And the plans they have going forward will see Boise State grow from 19,500 students today to about 25,000 in five years. They'll open a new press box and luxury boxes at the football stadium next summer. Those were financed and planned well before last January.
BSU has had ten years of football success. But, the Athletic Director points to one of the open ends of the 'blue field' and says they now plan to enclose it. Add seats. THAT will be thanks to the Fiesta Bowl victory.
As for the city and it's economic growth that too will owe something to that victory. The Economic Development Council sent out postcards to various companies around the country the week after the game. Did it work? Case in point---seven 'site selectors' from various companies from around the country were in Boise this past weekend. Yes they saw and talked to the business leaders that are already here. And yes, they went to the Homecoming game. Ask every one of them and the answer is--yes, we saw the Fiesta Bowl, yes, we were impressed, yes, it helped us to decide to visit.
Over 30 years ago my father visited Boise on business. Back before cell phones and email he wrote me a letter. He called it the cleanest, friendliest city he'd ever visited.
Maybe that has something to do with its current success too. That and maybe the best Basque outside of Spain I've ever eaten. MOA is off to Las Vegas. Viva, and Hey, O.J., I think I still have that football you signed for me in the 70's. All you have to do is ask.
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