The post season picture is becoming more clear. If the Huskies win the Pac-12 title this Friday against Colorado, bigger things are on the horizon. In the meantime, readers from Hardcore Husky and the Woodinville Weekly have asked questions about the bowl packages being offered by EB Sports Tours.
UW packages will go on sale December 4th, in the event Washington goes to either the national playoff or Rose Bowl.
Inclusions in the package are:
Round trip, direct flight specifically for Husky fans
Hotel, including all taxes and gratuities
Ground transportation to/from airport, pep rally and game
Optional game tickets
Souvenir credentials and luggage tags
On site tour staff
For the past twenty years, EB Sports has done bowl tours for teams like Alabama, Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Texas, Iowa, Boise State and NFL teams like the Green Bay Packers. To delve into this more deeply, we spoke with Glen Hildebrandt, an account executive with the Atlanta-based company.
“EB Sports has taken over 100,000 fans to football and bowl games across the nation,” Hildebrandt said. “We’ve never broken a ticket order and never canceled a tour because we didn’t fill the plane. Those are things that give people confidence.
“We work with Ohio State,” Hildebrandt said. “We source all their charter flights for their teams. If their baseball or volleyball teams go anywhere, we are an integral part of the process to do their charter flights.”
EB Sports does offer packages for folks who don’t wish to take a chartered flight from Seattle. But Husky fans living in the Puget Sound area will be glad to know that EB Sports contracts usually with Allegiant Airlines.
“We are Allegiant Air's largest bowl game charter client,” Hildebrandt said. “Every year for bowls we use more of their charter planes than anyone else. They are by many standards the most profitable airline in the country.”
Hildebrandt chuckled when asked about scenarios he has seen play out on the tours.
“Last year when Iowa went to the Rose Bowl, it was the most children I’ve ever seen on a tour,” he said. “We had a lot of grandparents that took their grand kids. They were saying they didn’t know if they would see another Rose Bowl, or when there would be another Rose Bowl [for Iowa], and they wanted to take their grand kids for this special event.
“We’ll also have men on these trips, and they’re disgruntled at the start of the tour because their wife bought the tour for them or the family,” he said. “But by the end of the tour, they say `I will never do this on my own again. I will never buy a flight, rental car, hotel and all this stuff on my own.’
“That’s because everything is so laid out,” he said. “You travel non-stop on the charter flight, you land, you come right off the plane onto the tarmac. Your bus is sitting there waiting for you. You don’t have to worry about your luggage, you don’t have to go to the baggage claim. It gets loaded right into our luggage truck. You go straight to the hotel. You receive your game tickets as you’re checking into your hotel. You don’t have to mess with anything.
“The other thing you have is when the husband bought the tour, and the wife says “Wow! He did this for me.’ It makes husbands look really good, let me tell you that.”
Hildebrandt spelled out a scenario where Washington goes to the Fiesta Bowl on December 31st as part of the national playoff. It would be four days and three nights. The bowl game flight would leave Seattle on December 29th. On the following day, there would optional day tours. These could include Sedona, the Grand Canyon or a Jeep desert tour.
There would be optional parties and a “Chalk Talk” at the upscale hotel. There would also be a free charter bus to and from the Washington pep rally for those who wish to attend.
December 31st would be the actual Fiesta Bowl game, featuring Washington and their opponent. The tour would end the following day, with the group returning to Seattle by charter flight.
The biggest question EB Sports gets, according to Hildebrandt, is about game tickets.
“A lot of your people will get their tickets through the alumni association or they’re season ticket holders and will get them that way,” he said. “But for those who don’t, the number one question they ask is `when will we get our tickets?’ Game tickets will be given to the fans upon their arrival at the hotel on December 29th. It’s all about giving people a comfort level.”
Game tickets are optional in the package. Standard tickets are upper end zone, with available options to upgrade.
There’s also one detail that differentiates charter flights from regular flights.
“We are already deep in the process of arranging all of our flights,” Hildebrandt said. “Let’s say Washington goes to the Fiesta Bowl on December 31st. So we would leave on December 29th. Airport flight arrangements can be a very meticulous and regulated process and generally not finalized until 10-14 days before that flight takes off, for bowl game programs. That’s an important detail to know. We might not know the exact flight times until ten to fourteen days before we leave.”
As the Huskies prepare for their showdown this Friday with Colorado, EB Sports will be busy behind the scenes.
“When it comes to any client, travel agency, university or website such as yours, we’ve never had one of them leave after working with us,” Hildebrandt said. “And we’re excited to be partnered with Hardcore Husky.”