A commercial promoting San Diego as a tourist destination will be played during the television broadcast of the Chargers- Broncos National Football League playoff game, Interim Mayor Todd Gloria announced Friday.
Tourism officials are hoping to reach 34 million viewers during the broadcast Sunday afternoon. The spot shows kids and adults having fun in the water, at Balboa Park and elsewhere around town, backed by a musical track with the lyrics "Happiness is calling me."
San Diego missed out on tourism marketing opportunities last year when former Mayor Bob Filner clashed with tourism leaders over funding. Gloria helped restore money to the city's Tourism Marketing District after Filner stepped down Aug. 30.
San Diegans have been energized by the Chargers first playoff appearance in four years.
Fans throughout the region wore powder blue jerseys, lightning bolt hats and other combinations of blue and gold in a display of support for the team, which will play in Denver with kickoff set for 1:40 p.m.
"I've been wearing my jersey since November and when I was wearing my jersey I didn't see a lot of fans, but after beating Kansas City and the Bengals, it just grew huge and everybody's just celebrating," Napolian Love told 10News in National City.
The Chargers won their final four regular season games to squeak into the playoffs, then routed the Bengals, 27-10, in Cincinnati last weekend.
Fans have also taken to wearing bolo ties of the sort quarterback Philip Rivers has been sporting recently.
Gloria has wagered samples of San Diego's best Mexican food against the mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock, who is offering up chili.
In another show of support, the dome of the new Central Library is being lit in blue and gold from dusk to 11 p.m. each night through Sunday. Whether all the love is enough to propel the Chargers to the AFC Championship Game is uncertain until the game is played
The team put out an official practice participation report for today that could be interpreted as deflating, as running back Ryan Mathews (ankle) and wide receiver Eddie Royal (toe) didn't see any action on the field for the third day in a row.
Also, guard Jeromey Clary (shoulder) didn't participate in practice for the second day in a row, while center Nick Hardwick (concussion) and tackle D.J. Fluker (ankle) had only limited participation. Most of the Chargers success this year has occurred when the offensive line has been intact.
All of those players were listed as "questionable" for the game. In comparison, the Broncos only list defensive end Derek Wolfe as out with an illness and everyone else appears ready to play.
The Chargers won 27-20 at Denver in a Thursday night game last month, but the Broncos were without receiver Wes Welker and cornerback Champ Bailey. Both are expected to play Sunday.
—City News Service