KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Football season kicked off on September 2 for the Vols with their game against Virginia in Nashville. On Sept. 9, they are coming home with their first home game of the season against Austin Peay. This game is close to being sold out.
With the college football season underway, week two on Rocky Top will bring close to 100,000 fans to Knoxville. As those fans descend on the city, Visit Knoxville is keeping track and hoping for a similar result to last season.
“I think we are expecting magic this season. Honestly, last year was so awesome we felt all the energy that used to come from years of football past so to speak,” President of Visit Knoxville Kim Bumpas said. “I think we are going to ride that energy into this season.”
Not only are the businesses doing well, but hotels in the area are already filling up for the season.
“All of the hotels are doing really good for football season. A lot of them are already sold out for most of the games,” Bumpas said.
Businesses are also getting the benefit of an influx of fans coming to Knoxville.
“It helps, it’s always good when football season is up because more people are willing to come down to buy things on campus, whether they’re going to the game or not, hats, t-shirts and merch,” Aaron Hale, Co-owner of Gus’s Good Times Deli said. “Last year was wild, especially SEC games, they lined up all the way to Cumberland to get in the front door.”
When visitors take in the sights and spend their money along the strip and downtown Knoxville, it all adds up. Tennessee is a sales tax-driven state.
“When you have visitors coming into Knoxville, Tennessee for a football game, they’re going into our restaurants, they’re shopping in our stores, they’re visiting our attractions, therefore, they’re spending money,” Bumpas said.
For some of those businesses, gameday excitement lasts from Friday to Sunday.