The Fiesta Bowl and the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl are big valley success stories. But as the Fiesta Bowl gets ready to stage its two big games, a major challenge lies ahead -- competing for the national championship game when college football goes to its new playoff system.
Right now the focus is on two great games. Michigan State and TCU clash at Sun Devil Stadium December 29th. And then Oregon and Kansas State face off in the Fiesta Bowl on January 3rd.
The bowls and National Title games are a big boost to the valley's economy.
"I am sure we will be between $250 and $350 million impact for the events this year, and the year we have a championship game," says Robert Shelton, Fiesta Bowl Executive Director.
"You add it all up, aggregate it and over a five year period we are over a billion with a B, a billion dollar impact to the economy of the state of Arizona."
But it turns out that impact could soon become even greater.
As successful as the Fiesta Bowl has been, it is about to get a lot bigger -- and that is because college football is going to go to a playoff system.
The big changes come in January 2015. With six BCS Bowl games, two of which will be playoff semifinals.
The winners of those semifinal games go on to play in the national championship.
"The way it works the new arrangement is 12 years, every year, there are two semi's. So that is 24 semi's in 12 years and so that means as one of six bowls we will get four semi's, so four of the 12 years we host a semi," says Shelton.
The challenge will be winning the big prize: hosting the National Title game. Cities will compete for it the way they do for the Super Bowl.
"The good news is there is a lot of interest, we know how to do it, the challenge is making sure we get it done," says Shelton. "It is not a gimme, I think we have a lot going in our favor because I travel around the country and people say no one knows how to put on a football game the way you do in Arizona."
Robert Shelton of the Fiesta Bowl believes the first national championship game in 2015 will probably be in Dallas, in the Dallas Cowboys' stadium.
He's okay with that because Glendale's got the Super Bowl that year.
After that, the Fiesta Bowl's executive director feels the valley will be in strong contention for the college football championship.