The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl, formerly the Humanitarian Bowl, has a strong history of giving back to the community since its inception in 1997. Throughout the years, with different sponsors, the Bowl’s mission – to recognize the positive impact teams, coaches and student-athletes have in their communities and their leadership roles in promoting humanitarian efforts – has remained unchanged.
Beyond the game on the field, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl’s goal is to positively impact the Treasure Valley, the City of Boise and the State of Idaho. The Bowl has a lean staff of three full-time members, but a dynamic board of directors and council comprised of business and community leaders. During the timeframe of the Bowl, the number of volunteers grows to more than 200 – all focused on coordinating the most entertaining match-up possible while supporting the community.
Every year, the Bowl provides the platform for several important events to inspire the positive impact of an athlete’s humanitarian efforts, including:
- BowlFest – This annual gala event, held in September, features a benefit dinner and silent auction. Proceeds are used to distribute Famous Idaho Potato Bowl tickets and fund contributions to Idaho charities.
- The National Football Foundation Awards Dinner – The Southern Idaho Chapter sponsors an annual scholar athlete dinner in April to acknowledge area college seniors’ commitment to academics, community service and play on the field. The Bowl provides funding and attends festivities.
- Strikes for Spuds (formerly Bowl for Beef) – Teams face off against each other in a bowling event for local charities. For each pin knocked down by players, two pounds of potato product will be donated by Simplot and other processors to local charities.
- Humanitarian Awards Dinner – On the Thursday before the Bowl, both team delegations gather to honor players for exemplary community service and leadership efforts. In previous years, teams have also been treated to inspirational speeches from former college and pro athletes.
- FCA Breakfast – On the Friday morning before the Bowl, the Southern Idaho FCA provides a breakfast for participating team delegations and the general public. Participants are treated to inspirational speeches from former college and pro athletes.
- Youth Skills Challenge – In previous years, area youth, ages 11-12, compete in a pro-style combine that celebrates healthy exercise habits. 40-yard dash winners in each category have had a chance to run on the Blue Turf during a break in the Bowl.
- Community Outreach Day at Boise Hospitals – On the Friday before the game, select players, coaches and mascots from both teams visit area hospitals to meet patients, pose for photos and distribute souvenirs.
Each year, the Bowl generated over $1 million in economic impact to Boise and surrounding communities through the following categories:
- Use of Bronco Stadium, including rental and contracted services such as parking attendants, maintenance, concessions and security – Approximately 150 Bronco stadium employees and contract workers are needed on the day of the Bowl.
- Hospitality services – Tents, heat lamps, televisions, electricity and catered food for approximately 2,000 fans in Tent Village each year. These services are provided by area companies.
- Team Lodging, Restaurants and Activities – Total team delegations from two teams – including players, coaches, school officials, spouses, cheerleaders and band members, vary from 400-500. Delegations pay for lodging, with team meals and activities – such as the team winter sports day and bowling charity event – funded by the Bowl and coordinated through local businesses.
- Commemorative Team Gifts – Each year, the Bowl provides locally-procured souvenir items for players, including clothing and electronics with gifting guidelines determined by the NCAA.
- Fan Lodging, Food and Souvenirs – The Bowl averages 26,000 fans per year and a portion of these out-of-area fans secure lodging, meals and souvenirs with the majority purchasing game day food from stadium vendors.
- Promotion Costs – The Bowl provides funding for marketing, advertising and promotion of game activities and ticket sales through local agencies.
- Ticket Contributions – The Famous Idaho Potato Bowl proceeds provide tickets and contributions to Idaho charities that include the United Way, Optimist Youth Football, Big Brothers Big Sisters, the Boise School District, Treasure Valley YMCA, Boys and Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, and Armed Forces personnel.
- Cash Contributions – The Bowl funds activities such as the Optimist Youth Football 7 vs. 7 Passing Tournament, the Optimist Youth Football equipment fund and provides trophies for youth bowl participants.
- Product Contributions – In previous years, as much as 2,500 lbs. of beef has been donated for the Bowl for Beef event to participating charities.
Beyond the tangible benefits of coordinating a Bowl that attracts nearly 500 participants and 26,000 fans, the Bowl provides a national showcase for the teams and the region:
- Television – ESPN television provides a national showcase for the City of Boise, Boise State University and the teams involved from Idaho. Last year, the City of Boise was mentioned 32 times during the broadcast and received 19 seconds of legible exposure time for an impressions value of $322,000 based on ad equivalency. In addition Boise State University, received 6 mentions and 15 minutes of legible exposure time for an impressions value of $918,000. The average impressions value for a team participating in the game is approximately $1.3 million. Source: Joyce Julius & Associates
- Media Exposure – As one of only 35 national bowl games in 31 cities, the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl receives widespread news coverage. The change in title sponsorship to the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl resulted in 373 media placements and an audience of 159 million for a market value of $117,000 according to PR agency Evans Hardy & Young.