The El Paso Brut Sun Bowl has sold out more quickly than ever in its 76-year history, officials said today. "It's not our first sellout, but it’s the earliest we’ve ever sold out," said Bernie Olivas, Sun Bowl executive director.
The game between the Oklahoma University Sooners and the Stanford University Cardinal at the scenic Sun Bowl, just yards from the U.S.-Mexico border, is set for Dec. 31. The last smattering of tickets sold today, Olivas said. "I guess we’re getting some pretty good national attention," he said.
The sellout comes less than a week after the Oklahoma City daily The Oklahoman, ran a story about how the raging violence in Juarez was keeping many Sooner fans from buying tickets to the game in El Paso, a stones-throw away from the deadly Mexican city. "On a NewsOK.com online poll, almost half of the more than 800 respondents who aren’t going to the Sun Bowl noted their reasoning was they don’t feel safe with all the violence happening across the border from El Paso," the newspaper reported. Even some of the OU players were apparently apprehensive about traveling to El Paso, which despite its proximity to Juarez, has repeatedly been ranked among the safest cities in the nation. The Oklahoman quoted senior cornerback Brian Jackson: "They should have moved the bowl game. It’s the well-being. You’ve got to think about our well-being first, don’t you?”
Olivas said the draw of the potential brawl between OU, which played in the national championship game last year, and Stanford, which brings Heisman runner-up Toby Gerhart, outweighed perceived safety concerns. "This year, everybody seems to like this matchup, and I don’t blame them," he said. He can't tell yet how many Sooner devotees bought tickets, but Olivas said all football fans would be safe in El Paso. "As long as everybody stays on this side of the border, I don't anticipate any problems at all," he said.