File photo.The Associated Press contributed to this report
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – No. 23 Texas A&M won’t play in the TaxSlayer Gator Bowl against Wake Forest on Dec. 31 because of COVID-19 issues and season-ending injuries.
The 8-4 Aggies were scheduled to leave for Jacksonville on Sunday before announcing Wednesday that they wouldn’t be able to participate in the bowl game. The team did not provide any details on the COVID-19 issues or injuries on the team.
On Wednesday night, NJ.com reported that it’ll be Rutgers that replaces the Aggies in the game at TIAA Bank Field.
RELATED: Report: Rutgers stepping in to replace Texas A&M in Gator Bowl
The game not happening was a concern for local businesses who have been gearing up for the game, preparing for the large crowds of fans who eat at restaurants and stay at hotels.
“Not having this event [would] be a pretty big loss for a lot of people down here, a lot of businesses,” said Will Frazier with Bold City Brewery.
Frazier says he sees between a 20-40% bump in business from bowl games.
Other business owners say these events are needed, especially because of the financial hit they’ve taken during the pandemic.
“Just having those events happen are so key to every business owner down here—small or big—it’s a huge deal,” said Maime-Lue Anderton, manager of Mag’s Cafe.
The Gator Bowl is estimated to bring between $14-$16 million dollars of business to Northeast Florida each year, according to its website. More than $500,000 a day generated by the event is donated to local organizations.
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About the Author:Renee Beninate Renee Beninate is a Florida native and award-winning reporter who joined the News4Jax team in June 2021.