BOCA RATON, Fla. — The countdown has begun for the Boca Raton Bowl between Brigham Young and Central Florida. But the bowl game atmosphere will take on a new look in 2020.
"We're not going to have some of the public opportunities that we typically have," Anthony Barbar said. "Our seating is at 20% capacity."
Barbar is the executive chairman of the Boca Raton Bowl committee. He said each team is going through testing protocols this week and fans should expect to see restrictions inside FAU Stadium on the campus of Florida Atlantic University.
"In the stadium, everybody is going to wear a mask, and then we've tried to provide some social distancing so that we don't have people on top of each other," he said.
The stadium holds about 30,000 but only 7,000 tickets will be available.
Boca Raton Councilman Andy Thomson knows something about bowl games. He won two bowl games while playing football at Georgia Tech. Thomson's energy is now focused on the economic impact.
"Because you have hundreds of people, thousands of people, typically, coming down, staying in our hotels, buying food in our restaurants, going out, having a good time," he said. "That's not, unfortunately, going to be possible this year."
Nevertheless, Thomson said, the city may make up for the lost revenue by attracting tourists through commercials.
"We get more of them this year, so you're going to see more opportunities to get (the) Boca name, Boca Raton, out there into our country," he said.
The owner of Kapow Noodle Bar in Mizner Park said that, even in a pandemic, business could be good.
"We may be busier, I have to say, because maybe people will be in town just for the support, so to say, but not being able to go to the game because of the limited amount of capacity," owner Chris Papandrea said.
Barbar said the goal is to still deliver a first-class experience whether fans are sitting in the stands or watching from home.