Santa Monica Lookout
|Santa Monica Welcomes College Bowl Fans to “Neutral Territory”||
By Jason Islas
January 2, 2014 -- Michigan State may have triumphed over Stanford at the 100th annual Rose Bowl this year but Santa Monica is the real winner.
With the two biggest contests of the college football season taking place a short drive from Santa Monica, the bayside city once again plays host to thousands of fans of all allegiances flocking to southern California to root for their teams.
“Santa Monica is fortunate to have become a neutral territory for all Rose Bowl and BCS Championship teams,” said Travis Pham, Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau’s manager of Domestic Sales & Services.
Ahead of the Stanford's big game against Michigan State, thousands of Cardinal fans flooded the world famous Santa Monica Pier for an all-day celebration Monday, culminating in the school's annual pep rally.
Pier restaurants offered pep rally specials. Stanford purchased 100 trapeze lessons for the first 100 fans to show up at the Pier for Monday's pep rally. Stanford fans were also treated to free games and rides at Pacific Park, which decked out its iconic Ferris wheel with red and white lights -- all solar-powered -- for the occasion.
But a welcoming atmosphere for Stanford fans didn't exclude those rooting for Michigan State, officials said.
While the Pier may have looked overwhelmingly like Stanford territory Monday, businesses and hotels offered specials to all of those visiting for the Wednesday's big game (http://www.santamonica.com/visitors/what-to-do/deals/).
Specific numbers weren't available, but according to the Convention & Visitors Bureau “Santa Monica hotels are experiencing healthy occupancies over these dates.”
Though the Rose Bowl draws the biggest crowd, Pasadena will also host the the most important game of the college football season -- the BCS National Championship game -- on January 6.
This year, Florida State will square off against Auburn University. And, when the Seminoles and the Tigers go head-to-head to determine college football's national champion, Santa Monica expects to see fans from both sides around town.
The Santa Monica Convention & Visitors Bureau is asking businesses to “join in the occasion” by placing placards in their windows “that display all four team logos from Rosebowl and the BCS Championship, welcoming both fans to Santa Monica,” officials said.
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