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Stokan confident Peach Bowl can get national title game bid
by Everett Catts
June 05, 2014 11:39 AM | 4541 views | 0 0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gary Stokan
Gary Stokan
Gary Stokan is hoping the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl will secure the bid to college football’s 2018 national title game.

Stokan, the bowl’s president and CEO, talked about it and related subjects Thursday at the Buckhead Business Association’s weekly breakfast meeting at City Club of Buckhead.

“We’re very aggressive in bidding for that particular year,” he said, “because it would be good timing of having the game because of the Falcons opening the [new] stadium that year and possibility hosting the Super Bowl [in 2019] and the possibility of the Final Four coming the following year. … There’s a not a lot of cities that can match us.”

The committee to bring the title game here, comprised of political and business leaders, will submit its bid in January or February and the winner will likely be announced in April or May, Stokan said. He has good reason to be confident.

Last year the Peach Bowl and the Cotton Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls were named as hosts for the new college football playoff. After the 2014 season, the Rose and Sugar bowls will host semifinal games Jan. 1 and the Cotton Bowl will host the national title game Jan. 12.

Over the next 12 years, the Peach Bowl will host national semifinal games four times, starting with the contests following the 2016 and 2019 seasons.

Last year the game broke records with a total team payout of $7.4 million, $1.6 million donated to charities and 8.7 million TV viewers. Since its inception, it has donated $16.3 million to nonprofits. The 2013 game was the bowl’s 17th straight sellout, ranking second only to the Rose Bowl. Originally called the Peach Bowl and rebranded the Chick-fil-A Bowl in 1996, the game in April changed its name to the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl to align itself with the other bowls hosting playoff games.

Now in its 46th year, the bowl has an economic impact of $35.5 million in 1013, according to statistics provided by the game. Since 1999, when the bowl started tracking its economic impact, it has had an impact of $468 million. From 1992 to 2013, the bowl matched an ACC team against an SEC one. That format will now change during the years it hosts a playoff semifinal or final.

The bowl also hosts a kickoff game the first weekend of the season, and this fall it will host two.

Stokan, a Brookhaven resident, is the former president of the Atlanta Sports Council. In addition to the bowl, today he is involved with other Atlanta sports-related issues including the city’s bid for the 2022 World Cup and the city’s successful bid to bring a Major League Soccer team to Atlanta starting in 2017.

During the question-and-answer session, guest Luke Waters asked Stokan if he was engaged in the soccer bids.

“We’ve bid to be the international broadcast center for hundreds of journalists,” he said of America‘s World Cub bid. “Unfortunately Qatar won and there may have been something amiss in the bidding process. There’s a study going on to see if there was. It’s up to FIFA to see if there’s something there.”

But the bulk of his speech was on college football, including the new Hall of Fame to open in August downtown, not far from the new Falcons stadium site. Stokan was also involved with the bid to bring the venue here from South Bend, Ind.

“We’ve tried to create this vision of Atlanta as the [nation’s] college football capital,” he said.

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