KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — It’s no secret that when there is a big game in town, Knoxville becomes packed to the gills with a sea of orange. Next week, the Vols are welcoming in SEC rival Florida in what will be a sold-out crowd bringing more than 100,000 people to the city of Knoxville.
The mass influx of people over a short amount of time leads to local businesses being extremely busy, however, the busyness does not faze some.
“Game days are definitely the busiest days of the week, especially against Florida,” J.C., who works at Sunsport said. “There’s going to be record attendance, I’m assuming, but you’ve got to stay busy and it’s kind of nerve-wracking but it’s also exciting.”
Along with the possibility of record attendance, Sunspot Assistant Manager, Rachel Tinch said that last year they were breaking records left and right.
“If last year is any indication of what game days bring to us,” Tinch said. “We will be on pace to break records this week and next week based on the crowd numbers for the games.”
The influx does not just affect businesses on Cumberland Avenue, it also affects the downtown storefronts as well.
“It brings a great vibrancy to the area,” Downtown Knoxville Alliance Executive Director, Michele Hummel said. “Fall is coming in, It’s always good to see the UT supporters here, but on the flip side of that, it’s good to see people from out of town supporting their team here in the downtown area.”
She continued by saying that in 2016, UT Football was accountable for $355.7 million of the city’s economy that year.
“Around $57 was spent on average by someone local per game weekend,” Hummel said. “Between $300-$400 was spent during those same weekends by out-of-towners, and the further from Knoxville people are, the more they are going to spend.”
Many of the businesses in the downtown area are all locally owned and operated which helps bolster the local economy and the businesses themselves on these big game weekends.
“The economic impact is around $42 million per home game weekend,” Hummel said. “That just shows the number of people coming in, going out and celebrating for UT sports.”
If the Vols keep playing the way they have been for the past year and two games, that overall number of $355.7 million will continue to grow.