For the last few years the Las Vegas Bowl has been known as one of the marquee bowl games in college football. It's not just because the games have been entertaining and competitive, but because it has the name, Las Vegas, and that spotlight is only going to shine brighter when the Raiders arrive.
Wednesday afternoon marked the annual Las Vegas Bowl luncheon: a kickoff celebration for a game that now has a title sponsor.
"The excitement that's coming with the brand-new stadium, we wanted to make sure we negotiated a two-year contract. So we'll be here next year too, so when the Raiders come in and that stadium gets built, we have an option to continue that forward for years three and beyond, so we're excited," Mitsubishi Motors of North America Director of Events Jeff Holland said.
John Saccenti is the Executive Director for the Mitsubishi Motors Las Vegas Bowl. He said while his focus is on the 2018 game, a lot of his conversations have revolved around the Raiders' new stadium and the game in 2020.
"We've had a great working relationship with the Raiders on the stadium deal,” Saccenti said. “Met with them yesterday, things are going really well there, Long way to go there, but hopefully sometime this year (we'll have made an announcement). "If not, we'll have some plans and announcements in the future."
Since 2006, the Las Vegas Bowl has featured the Mountain West Champion playing a team from the Pac-12 (known as the Pac-10 through 2011). That will be the case this year and next, but may change in 2020.
"We're the pretty girl at the dance right now. Vegas is a really hot city, Vegas is getting a ton of attention for sports and entertainment. The new stadium going up, people want to talk to us, people want to explore Las Vegas,” Saccenti said. “We're talking to anybody and everybody and hopefully here soon we'll have an agreement on the near future."
Saccenti said it's an exciting challenge to have, but a challenge nonetheless.
"It's also very scary. We go from a 38,000-seat stadium that we have to fill to a 65,000 seat stadium that we have to fill. (It's) a lot of pressure, we're going to have to reinvent the way we do business, the way we sell the game, the way we market the game, the way we promote the game. Teams will be very excited with what we put together," Saccenti said.
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