A thought occurred to me when reading the posts on the mayors sports announcements;
I propose that the Gator Bowl Association spread their wings in a small fashion and create the "Gator Jamboree".
The Gator Jamboree would start out at first as a football only event, where high school football teams from around the country would be invited to play locally based teams in NE Florida. Kind of like a NE Florida against the Nation kind of weekend. Different schools of various sizes would play their equivalent counterparts.
You could schedule 2 large school games at EverBank and some of the smaller schools to play at larger locales elsewhere in the city. Perhaps start out with just one major game on a weekend to ply the waters and grow from there.
- Stadium use
- Tourist Dollars
- Filled hotel beds
- Attracts college recruiters
- Creates Jax as a HS sports destination
If it proves to be somewhat successful, either add more football down the road, or have 3 unique Gator Jamboree's in a scholastic year.
Fall - Football
Winter - Soccer/Basketball
Spring - Baseball
Outstanding questions would be:
- What would entice/motivate an out of state team to want to compete here?
- Might be perceived by some out of state public schools as a way for SEC schools to poach talent
- Making/Finding a way to make it worth while for the kids parents to make the trip. (key to filling rooms)
- How does this benefit the community? (Having/including smaller schools compete may help here)
- How do you tie it in with the Gator Bowl (for cross promotion)?
- How do you (if desirable) make a connection with the Jaguars?
- Maintaining the level of competition
This also might help the GBA, who are currently battling with the BCS gods over the scraps of the B10 and SEC over team quality and hosting a new BCS playoff format. By extending the marketing of the Gator Bowl into the HS space, they are improving the visibility of the bowl to a new generation of players and coaches, many of which will be become involved in the college ranks a few years later.