The Italian Bowl comes to the Glass Bowl
The Italian Football League will host its championship game in Toledo next July.
TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - The Italian Bowl is coming to the Glass Bowl next summer. The Italian Football League Championship will happen outside Europe for the first time ever -- and for starters, this is American football, not soccer.
The game is expected to draw thousands of international visitors to Toledo and it’s about much more than touchdowns.
The Glass Bowl has hosted a lot of big games, but none quite like the one that will be played there next July. The Italian Football League will hold its championship there.
Toledo Mayor Kapszukiewicz says thinking outside the box can bring big wins for the city.
“People have asked why is this happening in Toledo? Well, to that I say, why not Toledo? We raised our hand, got our foot in the door and here we are,” Kapszukiewicz said. “Successful cities do creative things like this. There is nothing in the playbook that said we had to bring Italian football here but sometimes you get points for creativity.”
Raffaello Pellegrini is a former football player in Italy and part owner of one of the teams there. He says playing football in the birthplace of the game will be magical.
“Somehow dreams come true if you work hard to make it happen,” Pellegrini said. “Our players are so excited about this opportunity.”
Rob Sims played for The Ohio State University and in the NFL. He’s excited to be an American ambassador for the event. Rob says the fans in Italy love the game.
“They cheer like it’s soccer,” Sims said. “You’ll hear ‘olé, olé olé.’ Their tailgating is different, too. Instead of hot dogs and burgers, they have prosciutto and melon.”
The game is expected to draw thousands and pump millions into the local economy. It will also help foster business connections.
Dean Monske is the head of the Regional Growth Partnership.
“We’re looking to make sure we help visitors from Italy understand the opportunities when it comes to doing business in northwest Ohio,” Monske said. “We will work to set up interaction between local business owners and the delegation from Italy.”
Along with the tourism and potential economic development impact, the mayor says this is a great way to enjoy a good game and show off our beautiful city.
“Thinking back to The Solheim Cup,” said Kapszukiewicz. “Toledoans were very excited to show off our city to international visitors. This is our next opportunity to do that.”
The game will be played July 1st at 2:00 p.m., so it can be aired live in prime time in Italy. There will be a number of different events leading up to the game.
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