The Valero Alamo Bowl kicked off its 25th anniversary with a luncheon that honored local San Antonio scholarship recipients last Wednesday. A crowd of over 800 locals came to the newly renovated Alamodome to eat Rudy’s Bar-B-Q, acknowledge the 76 scholarship winners and listen to NCAA analysis by a panel of experts.
CEO and president Derrick Fox sat down with me to discuss the event and the future of the championship game this December:
Could you talk about the Valero Alamo Bowl 25th anniversary luncheon we are at today?
Derrick Fox: It’s really our kickoff event with the Rudy’s Pigskin preview here in the Alamodome where we kick of the college football season — although delayed a little bit because of the renovations. Which, as you can see, gives us a chance to showcase whats going on in the ‘Dome: $60 million in renovations and something the fans really get to experience which will enhance the overall experience when it comes to UTSA games, our game or whatever may happen.
Obviously, this all leads up to the Valero Alamo Bowl on December 28th of this year, where we’re going to have over 30,000 out-of-town visitors come in to see San Antonio and generate some $45 million in local revenue impact. Oh, and by the way, our keynote address is televised to over seven million people on ESPN. It’s a great way to showcase our city. We’re in the business of fun; it’s a great way to showcase our community and raise money for higher education — whether it’s the teams on the field, or like you saw today, the students in the stands that participate as well.
You mentioned students in the stands. Could you talk more about the scholarship recipients today?
We have two different programs: one is our high school scholarship program. All 65 participating high schools in San Antonio were awarded scholarships last year. We gave out 76 total for $590,000. Today we rolled out the first part of our college scholarship program. These are rising juniors and seniors, largely people that want to stay here in San Antonio and get across the finish line.
We got the kids going from high school into college and we have the kids that did well and get the be recognized at the end of their college career with $420,000 in awards. We gave $210,000 and the university matched that. It gives us a grand total of over a $1 million dollars for the past game.
Hopefully, we can replicate that going forward. It all goes back to the more successful we can have a game and all the events like this, the more community minded we can be.
Across the field, I saw a lot of business people in business attire going around throwing balls and kicking balls. What’s that mean for you and the Alamo Bowl with seeing these community members having fun on a work day?
You don’t realize how many people don’t get a chance to get down on the field. So, getting down on the field is a big kick. Obviously, having a lunch down here. As you can see, they’re rolling down the turf and scurrying around to get ready for the big UTSA game this weekend.
Everyone gets the opportunity to participate in the interactive skills. Whether it’s throwing the ball or kicking a field goal… they make up their own games as they go along. It’s kind of like a big tailgate party at the other end of the field.
Were you doing any scouting? Or seeing any potential players over there?
Fortunately, no injuries so that’s good. We’ve had a few injuries in the past. No one stretches out in advance and all of a sudden, they pull a hammy or do something else. Fortunately, we have our team doctor here just in case.
It’s just a fun environment. Like I said, we’re in the business of fun. So you start the college football season now, leads all the way to the Valero Alamo Bowl and hopefully we will have 65,000 people in here that night. It’s a great environment for football.
Do you have any bold bowl predictions for the game?
I’ll go out on a limb and say we’ll have a Big 12 and Pac-12. It does look like we’re trending well for a top-15, top-20 matchup.
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