There once was a time when fans, alumni, pep bands, and cheerleaders all traveled to Bowl games along with the entire football team and support staff and even some others from the athletic department. The more the merrier! Schools used to charter two wide body Boeing 767's to these Bowl games across the country, filled with everyone they could think of in order to create that "home field advantage" feel. No expense was spared, this was as much a celebration as it was a sporting event. A celebration of a winning season and the opportunity to prove themselves on a national scale.
But now it seems that there is only enough room for the football team, coaches and limited staff. There may not even be any fans allowed at certain stadiums due to the capacity restrictions from COVID19. Teams are using smaller charter aircraft or taking buses to Bowl games as match-ups have been determined based on geographic proximity as opposed to match-ups which will promote the best television viewership and ratings. That means that even though everyone (including college students and staff who would normally attend) will be watching this year on T.V, the games themselves may not be that exciting of match-ups.
Some teams may be playing cross state rivals or regional opponents, which could be interesting, but for the most part the teams will be traveling much less than in years past. This lack of college sports air charter travel will limit the potential match-ups of powerhouse teams that are not competing for top Bowls.
Teams will continue to fly private charter flights to neutral site locations for some of these Bowl games, and the New Years 6 Bowls depending on how they land - pun intended. But for the overall scale, it will be dramatically less than in previous years. More than likely, only essential players and staff will travel. Sorry cheerleaders, bands, and alumni. And depending on the city and state of the Bowl location, fans may be reduced or non-existent. Not that this is any different from how the regular season turned out. And as fans ourselves, we are glad that there was a season at all.
We are crossing our fingers for a full schedule of Bowl games as states and regions brace for more cases to continue to rise through the end of the year. Teams are still constantly testing for COVID-19 and games are continually being cancelled and rescheduled. Who knows, we may have bowl games until February...and then spring football.
If your team is heading to a bowl this year, contact your account manager directly to start planning, or reach out to us and we will help your team navigate the complex air charter market and find the best available option for your upcoming trip.