Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Loses in Bid for Senior Bowl; College All-Star Game to Remain in Mobile, at Least for Now

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

City Loses in Bid for Senior Bowl; College All-Star Game to Remain in Mobile, at Least for Now

Article excerpt

Byline: BRANDON LARRABEE

TALLAHASSEE - College football's all-star game will remain in Mobile, Ala., after the board that owns the game voted to keep the event in its home for the last 58 years.

Jacksonville officials, however, aren't giving up the fight to bring the Senior Bowl to the First Coast.

"The board has voted to discontinue any other talks with any other cities," said Kevin McDermond, a spokesman for the Mobile Arts & Sports Association, which owns the game. "Bottom line: It's staying in Mobile."

But Michael Bouda, director of sports and entertainment for the Jacksonville Economic Development Commission, said the Senior Bowl can still buy its way out of the deal with Mobile after a year, and efforts to bring the game to Jacksonville are far from over.

"I'm still not convinced that the Senior Bowl is there for the long haul. ... I don't see Jacksonville stopping from trying to get it," Bouda said.

Bouda said he doesn't believe the game will be economically viable if it remains in Mobile's Ladd-Peebles Stadium, which seats 40,000-plus, instead of the larger Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, where officials predicted the game could draw 50,000 to 55,000. He noted that Mobile Arts & Sports Association was controlled by local businessmen and business leaders.

"If you're truly voting for what's best for the game, I don't know how you keep it in Mobile," he said.

Last week, Senior Bowl president Steve Hale said Jacksonville had "clearly emerged as the leading candidate," but Mobile officials worked to get the Mobile Arts & Sports Association to accept a new, three-year deal with two three-year options.

The Senior Bowl, which showcases graduating college prospects for NFL scouts, was first played in Jacksonville in 1950. But ever since, it has been played in Mobile. …

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