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Will Spartan fans make trip out West again for Redbox bowl game?

Posted at 9:49 AM, Dec 04, 2018

The San Francisco Bay area doesn't seem like a bad place to spend New Year's Eve, but will Spartan fans be willing to make that trip?

Michigan State is playing Oregon in the Redbox Bowl on the 31st.

Selling fans on a trip to Florida for the holidays is relatively easy, but the Bay area is more expensive and Michigan State just played in a west-coast bowl game in 2017.

That's why the people putting together travel packages aren't thrilled with MSU's draw.

John Dobben has been to a lot of Michigan State bowl games over the years.

"They're easy to love," Dobben said. "If we could just get an offense running, we'd be all set."

Like many fans, he was hoping for a bowl in warm and sunny Florida, but the luck of the draw landed the Spartans in Santa Clara, California taking on the Oregon Ducks in the Redbox bowl.

"This was not on our radar," said Dennis Hamilton, Owner and President of Spartan Sports Tours.

Hamilton organizes bowl travel packages for fans and alumni. The Redbox bid was totally unexpected and now he's scrambling last minute to come up with a package for his customers on time.

'The thing is that you're dealing with the west coast. They're three hours behind. Just trying to get a hold of hotels, transfer companies, a lot of that stuff takes a lot of time to set up," Hamilton said.

The draw also generated a luke-warm response from his clientele. Only 50 people showed interest, compared to 500 who pre-registered for a bowl in Florida or on the east coast. Expensive flights are also an issue.

"Cost is a big thing for a lot of Spartans."

Interested fans like Dobben are being kept waiting until Hamilton can come up with a solid plan which Dobben said he's confident Hamilton will.

"Every time we've gone with them, they've put together a great package that all the fans enjoy. I'd never heard anybody say that they had an experience other than a good one," Dobben said.

It may take Hamilton a day or two to figure out the hotel and flight situation, but he's hoping at least 45 to 50 people will be interested so he can prepare a travel package.

Michigan State has not said when the team will be flying out to California. FOX 47 will be heading there to bring live coverage of the trip.