SANTA CLARA (KPIX 5) — Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara on Friday is once again hosting the annual Pac-12 Football Championship game for the sixth and final time.
The game which has been plagued by lackluster ticket sales will move to the Raiders’ brand-new stadium in Las Vegas in 2020.
“Oh, I’m so excited. We love Vegas,” said Kerrisa Oaks, an Oregon Ducks fan. “We go all the time. It’s a nice little change of pace. It’s been here the last couple of times, so it will be a nice little change.”
According the city of Santa Clara, which owns Levi’s Stadium, the championship game lost roughly $2.6 million last year due in large part to underwhelming ticket sales. Attendance at the 2018 championship games was just over 35,000 fans in a stadium that hold nearly twice that number of people.
Nonetheless, the game has proven an economic windfall for hotels, restaurants and bars in driving distance of the stadium.
“People are spilling out of the hotels. They’re going to have meals; they’ll enjoy some of the nightlife — the bars. That’s what really makes it click. Sports are a big part of the tourism industry,” said Scott Knies, the Executive Director of the San Jose Downtown Association.
Many fans attending this year’s game expressed excitement at the change of location.
“In fact, I was just in Vegas and it’s coming along really well. It looks really nice. It’s got glass all around it. It looks really nice what they’ve got done so far,” said Utah fan Bill Druk.
However, not everyone was convinced. One person said he was worried that changing the location to Las Vegas might make the event less family-friendly.
“I like Las Vegas but it’s a different feel. I’m more inclined to come here with him,” said Cristian Colvin hugging his son Owen. “I might not go to Vegas with him.”