For the first time ever, the Rose Bowl is hosting two bowl games during the same week this year: the traditional New Year’s Day Rose Bowl and the Jan. 7 BCS National Championship Game.

And at least one local company is benefitting enormously: Primesport, a division of Razorgator Interactive Group, a privately held L.A. company that focuses on sports and entertainment ticketing.

The company is the official hospitality partner of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and has set up a five-acre village with 16 private tents where companies can entertain for several hours prior to each game – at a cost of up to $275 per partygoer. Among the companies taking advantage of the tents are Rose Bowl sponsors such as Jack in the Box and Southern California Honda Dealers.

Despite the deep recession, Primesport said the tents are selling well. As of Dec. 29, about 2,000 tent tickets were bought by companies for the Rose Bowl and about 4,000 for the BCS championship.

However, Sharyn Outtrim, Primesport vice president of special events, said the company had to make accommodations for the economy by offering one large tent where multiple companies can entertain simultaneously.

“In the past, it was mainly private tents, but there are small and midsized companies that want to provide services, but can’t afford to,” she said.

Primesport also invites companies to display their products at the hospitality village, with Honda, for example, showcasing its vehicle lineup.

Tim Schneider, publisher of SportsTravel Magazine, said that Pasadena’s football week is so big that it’s benefitting from a fairly recent phenomenon: fans who will travel to the site of a big sporting event even if they can’t get inside the stadium.

“Major events draw 100,000 people to the host city that don’t have tickets and can’t get tickets. That’s the sort of excitement that follows the Rose Bowl game and the BCS championship,” he said.

Hotels in Century City hosted delegations from Rose Bowl participants University of Oregon and Ohio State University; BCS championship teams University of Alabama and University of Texas are staying in Orange County. Pep rallies for the schools are being held in Santa Monica and draw 25,000.

Empty Cup

Los Angeles was generally given good marks when it hosted the 1994 World Cup final in the Rose Bowl, where a sellout crowd watched Brazil beat Italy 3-2 in a shootout.

The July final culminated the monthlong World Cup tournament, which the United States hosted at multiple cities, breaking World Cup attendance records and pumping millions into local economies.

Apparently L.A.’s success is now just a dim memory.

Nine countries, including the United States, are planning to submit bids to host the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cups, with a final decision to be announced in December. And in the United States, 27 cities, including Los Angeles, are seeking to host the finals if the country is named host of either tournament.

The USA Bid Committee has an online petition to show support for the U.S. World Cup bids. Overall, it has received 276,000 signatures to its online petition. However, Los Angeles ranks only 22nd among the cities with just 3,100 signatures. Five cities have received more than 10,000 signatures, with No. 1 Atlanta having more than 14,600.

However, sports consultant Jeff Marks believes those numbers will pick up in notoriously sports-fickle Los Angeles once the 2010 World Cup gets under way this summer in South Africa, raising the tournament’s profile.

“L.A. has such a storied history in soccer. There are many possibilities, but the Rose Bowl has always been a crowd favorite as one of the top soccer venues,” said Marks, chief operating officer of Premier Partnerships.

Dodgers Nation

Farmer John has apparently spent its marketing dollars well.

A recent study by marketing consulting firm FanLab has shown that regional sponsors of Major League Baseball teams can have more impact than national brands such as Budweiser.

One such brand is Farmer John, the L.A.-based unit of Hormel Foods Corp. that makes the famous Dodger Dog, for years the No. 1 selling hot dog at MLB parks nationwide.

The study showed that Farmer John ranked the highest among baseball fans in the West when asked which brands they associated with the game.

“It’s quite impressive to see midsized sponsors be more top of mind than sponsors with billions in revenue,” said Brian Evans, co-founder of FanLab.

Staff reporter David Nusbaum can be reached at or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 236.

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