Papajohns.com Bowl brings economic boost to Birmingham

BIRMINGHAM, AL (WBRC) - The 2009 Papajohns.com Bowl brought in an estimated $18.4 million dollars to the Birmingham economy.

That is nearly $8 million more than last year.

Officials say the economic impact has grown each year and they are hopeful the trend will continue.

A bowl record crowd of 45,254 filled Legion Field on Jan. 2 and watched UConn's 20-7 victory over South Carolina. Officials said many of the 20,000 visiting fans spent the night in area hotels and visited city sites.

Officials at the Greater Birmingham Convention and Visitors Bureau say the event brought a nice boost to the city during a normally slow time for visitors.

"We're not Miami. We're Birmingham," said President James Smither, "It is not 80 degrees here. When you get people to come here at this time of year and spend dollars, it is very good for city, exciting for us."

Papajohns.com officials say they were pleased that the event has grown each year, and believe it was a big success this year.

"We heard a lot of positive feedback from fans," said Executive Director Mark Meadows, "but we will continue to evaluate and make changes from year to year."

Meadows said they should know the official date of next year's game in April.