ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) –The New Mexico Bowl will not be happening in New Mexico this year. ESPN announced Tuesday, due to tight COVID-19 restrictions in the state, the Bowl game is switching states. Instead of in Albuquerque, the 15th annual New Mexico Bowl will be played in Texas this year but organizers are going to still try to keep the focus on the Land of Enchantment.
“While we’re unable to play the game in our beautiful state, in our beautiful city this year, the intent is still to showcase Albuquerque and New Mexico and the beautiful things that we’ve got here,” said Jeff Siembieda, executive director of New Mexico Bowl.
Siembieda says playing in Texas was really their best and only option this year because due to current COVID-19 restrictions and a rise in cases, especially in Bernalillo County, Siembieda says the governor’s office could not guarantee that the game will be permitted to take place.
So they decided the 2020 New Mexico Bowl will now be played north of Dallas, in Frisco, Texas at the Toyota Stadium where FC Dallas plays. That stadium seats 20,000, but attendance will be limited to about 5,000 for the game. Attendance has been dwindling at the New Mexico Bowl over the last few years but Siembieda hopes it’s one year absence will inspire people to go again or for the first time.
“Hopefully, on Christmas Eve on national television people here, fans who have been coming to our game for years, fans who maybe will come next year, will smile a little bit and enjoy the holidays,” Siembieda said.
On average, the New Mexico Bowl brings about 6,000 people into town, adds about 3.5 million to the local economy. In response to the move, the governor’s office says that their first priority is public health and safety. New Mexico is the only state that is not allowing Division I college sports to play games.
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