Despite rumors to the contrary, Executive Director Jim Nagy said the Reese’s Senior Bowl is not leaving Mobile anytime soon. In fact, Nagy said the game would “never” leave Mobile.
“The Senior Bowl is not going anywhere,” Nagy said. “It’s just rumors.”
Ladd-Peebles Stadium hosted the 70th annual game on Saturday, Jan. 26, pitting the North against the South and featuring some of college football’s biggest stars. The North squad won the game 34-24 in front of a crowd of more than 31,000.
Ann Davis, chairwoman of the stadium’s board, called the event a success and said at least one National Football League official expressed happiness about it.
She also said talk of the game moving to Orlando or elsewhere is just a rumor. Davis said she believes the NFL’s contract to play the Pro Bowl in Orlando expires in two years. Despite that, Davis still doesn’t think the game will leave Mobile. She added that all the speculation about such a rumor is bad for the city as a whole.
However, the game could stay in Mobile but the NFL could send its coaches and scouts to another location, which would have a negative impact on the game. Davis confirmed the NFL can control where it sends its people.
Davis said the biggest threat to the game’s future came this summer when Mayor Sandy Stimpson and the University of South Alabama pushed a proposal to invest public funds in an on-campus stadium in West Mobile.
Each year, Davis said, the game aims to sell 30,000 tickets, which she said would be impossible to do at USA’s proposed stadium. She called a proposal to move the decades-old game out west “insane.” Despite the Mobile City Council’s denial of stadium funding, USA is on track to complete its stadium next year.
During the stadium debate, Nagy was in support of moving the game to USA’s new stadium because more room for tailgating could help make it a bigger event.
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