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Visitors bureau: Military Bowl had $1 million economic impact

The Military Bowl had an economic impact of $1 million on Anne Arundel County, according to the county’s tourism board.

The Dec. 27 game between the University of Maryland and Marshall University brought more than 30,000 fans to Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium in the Military Bowl’s first year in Annapolis. The game was previously held at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

The Annapolis and Anne Arundel County Conference and Visitors Bureau said visitors spent more than $1 million on lodging, food, retail and transportation in Anne Arundel County from Dec. 26-28. The tourism board estimated the Military Bowl was responsible for more than $13 million in direct sales in the Washington, D.C.-Maryland region.

“The impact was absolutely stellar,” said Connie Del Signore, CEO of the county’s tourism board.

Military Bowl officials projected a $10 million economic impact for the Greater Annapolis-Washington region. Officials with the city of Annapolis estimated a $1 million economic impact on the city.

The game, a 31-20 Marshall victory, led to a 38 percent increase in hotel occupancy in Anne Arundel County from Dec. 26-28, according to the Visitors Bureau. The visitors bureau reported 10 hotels in Anne Arundel County and Annapolis booked at least 1,700 room nights.

The city of Annapolis collected $16,000 in room taxes from Dec. 26-28, the visitor’s bureau said.

Annapolis did not receive admission and amusement taxes from the Military Bowl, said city spokeswoman Rhonda Wardlaw. The U.S. Naval Academy Athletic Association is paying the city $20,120 for services rendered during the Military Bowl game, Wardlaw said.

State law exempts all U.S. Naval Academy football and lacrosse games played at Navy-Marine Corps Memorial Stadium from the state’s admissions and amusement tax.

DC Bowl Committee Inc., the organizers of the Military Bowl, reported more than $1.1 million in ticket operations in 2012. Annapolis typically receives 10 percent admission and amusement tax for events within the city.

Del Signore hoped next year’s Military Bowl would better this year’s economic impact. Bowl organizers held a parade through Main Street Annapolis before the game, but most of the pre-bowl events took place in Washington, D.C. Del Signore hoped some events, as well as the team’s official hotels, ideally would move to Annapolis in the future.

The Military Bowl featured a team from the Atlantic Coast Conference and Conference USA. Next year's game will feature an ACC opponent and a member of the American Athletic Conference.

Del Signore noted that Maryland will leave the ACC next year, all but guaranteeing two out-of-state opponents for the 2014 bowl game. The visitors bureau will advertise more out of state, she said, in hopes of bringing even more fans to Annapolis.

“These will be two teams out of the state, so we should see a lot more fans overnighting,” Del Signore said.

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