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The terms and rates were identical for Oklahoma, but most of the hotels were different.

UConn spokesman Mike Enright said in a telephone interview that the school was “completely thrilled” with its experience at the Fiesta Bowl, adding, “We had no problem with the hotel rate out there.”

In its complaint, Playoff PAC says the deal prevents schools from selecting their own hotel rooms, and “leveraging their large volume of room rentals to aggressively pursue discounts.”

In an emailed statement to the AP, Fiesta Bowl chairman Woods called that argument a “fallacy.”

Given the small lead time between team selection and the game, the tourist season, the need to secure a large number of rooms and the ability of ticket brokers to buy hotel rooms, “it is simply erroneous to believe that the teams would be able to negotiate better rates for all the rooms they would need at one hotel,” he said.

“The contract in question benefits participating schools by guaranteeing large blocks of rooms at the lowest possible rates, which are well below market rates,” he said. “… So without this type of agreement between the Fiesta Bowl and the SCVB, schools would find it nearly impossible to get blocks of rooms, let alone at the reduced cost they currently pay.”

Woods said the Fiesta Bowl uses the money it receives from the visitors bureau to pay for practice facilities, event spaces, hosting, promotions, security, transportation, cross-marketing, and to subsidize the media lodging, among other things.

Brent DeRaad, executive vice president of the visitors bureau, said that the there was “no merit whatsoever” to Playoff PAC’s complaint.


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