The 21st edition of the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is just two days away. This year’s match-up is between the University of Wyoming and Central Michigan.
Organizers tell KTVB, so far, they’ve sold 20,000 tickets for Friday's game.
“We're probably the largest annual event that comes to Boise year in and year out,” Famous Idaho Potato Bowl Executive Director Kevin McDonald said.
Some local businesses, like Old Chicago downtown, are already seeing the impact.
“We've had a lot of Wyoming fans in today for lunch even,” assistant manager for Old Chicago Marty Zahn said.
In years past, some fans have even turned the back of the restaurant into their own spirit store.
“Sell hats, t-shirts, hoodies, blankets to try and keep the fans warm and show support for their team when they come to town,” Zahn said.
GAME DAY GUIDE: Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
McDonald says of those fans who do come to the game, about 80 percent of them are from the Mountain West Conference team.
“This year we're expecting Wyoming to bring, probably 2,000 fans to the game,” McDonald said.
It’s not just fans coming either, each school brings about 350 people from the football players to the band.
“We know the teams will spend about $210,000 on hotels. We know they're going to spend about $90,000 on transportation,” McDonald said.
Organizers of the bowl also spend about another million dollars in the community getting ready for the big day.
“Between what the teams spend and our spending here, it's about $1.5 million,” McDonald said.
The Boise Metro Chamber of Commerce says last year’s bowl game brought in a conservative estimate of about $7.4 million from restaurant meals to hotel stays.
Organizers don’t expect this year’s turnout to be quite the same as last year’s because the University of Idaho isn’t in this year’s game.
However, McDonald says with Wyoming’s Josh Allen deciding to play in the game, it could peak more of an interest.
“It could pose a lot of interest for Wyoming fans who are in eastern Idaho, if you will, or western Wyoming to say 'OK I’m going to come to the game now that I know Josh is definitely playing,'” McDonald said.
The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl is also nationally televised, meaning money isn’t the only thing it brings to the community.
“Our exposure I think that the bowl provides to our community is one of many invaluable promotions of the city of Boise,” McDonald said.