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Whoever wins Pac-12 Championship Game, Tempe scores

TEMPE - Even if the Sun Devils don't go to the Rose Bowl after Saturday's Pac-12 Championship Game, this city's economy will still win.

"I think it's safe to say it's going to result in quite a large impact," said Anthony Evans, senior research fellow for the Seidman Research Institute at Arizona State University's W.P. Carey School of Business. "We're talking of upwards of 70,000 people flooding into Tempe on a Saturday that they were not expecting."

About 2,000 Stanford fans are expected to travel to Arizona for the game, meaning revenue for the broader economy on travel and accommodations, he said.

Evans also said the institute's research has found that fans can spend between $50 to $100 at bars and restaurants watching Arizona State football games.

"You can look first of all at the impacts of the people who are being attracted into the city of Tempe itself from other parts of Maricopa and other places in Arizona," he said. "You can also look at the impact for the state as a whole."

The Seidman Research Institute is analyzing the economic impact of Sun Devil football during the 2013 regular season. That report is expected to be published around the end of the month.

Stephanie Nowack, Tempe Tourism Office president and CEO, said she is looking forward to the exposure the city will get from national television.

"We're very excited when activities like this happen because it just reinforces that image for our city," Nowack said. "Whenever we receive national visibility, especially on a network such as ESPN, and when Tempe's name is mentioned - they mention ASU, the stadium, of course, the city - that is great exposure for our city and it continues to position us as a destination."

The Pac-12 Championship Game will be the seventh nationally televised football game for the Sun Devils this season.

Kristi Dosh, a sports business reporter and author of "Saturday Millionaires: How Winning Football Builds Winning Colleges," said playing in a big home game on national television will showcase the campus as well. College-age people who have never been to the Tempe campus or even to Arizona may consider attending ASU because of shots of the campus and Tempe.

"There are studies that show that people really do find out about schools and then look into them based on seeing football programs on television," she said. "The fact that Arizona State is getting to have it as a home game gives more value than just being on national TV."

An appearance in the Pac-12 Championship Game provides an added bonus for ASU. Dosh said studies have shown public opinion of a school is influenced by the success of its football team.

"There is this sort of subconscious thing that happens with people. Where when a school's football program is good, certain assumptions are made about their academic programs being good as well," she said. "It's because you hear the university's name in the news so much when the football program is doing well, subconsciously you start to have a higher opinion of the school."

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