KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — The Vols are gearing up for their fifth straight home sell-out of the season, bringing in over 100,000 fans to Knoxville for the game. Local businesses in and around the area are reaping the benefits as Tennessee Football keeps winning.
“When the Vols are winning, people are happy,” President of Visit Knoxville, Kim Bumpas said. “They want to spend money, they want to pay a little extra for their hotel room and go out for two dinners instead of one. It’s just a win-win-win all the way around.”
One Knoxville owner is likening the business they are seeing now to what they were seeing when the Vols won their last national championship in 1998.
“It’s been crazy,” Gus’s Good Time’s Deli co-owner, Aaron Hale said. “Business has been as close to the late 90’s as I can remember.”
As long as the Vols are winning, area hotels continue to win as well.
“I can tell you that every time we win, it makes the rate go up a little bit more or makes a two-night minimum turn into a three-night minimum,” Bumpas said. “We still might have a room available here and there but it gives them an opportunity to charge a little bit of an elevated rate for that open room.”
Bumpas also said that this mass influx of people creates tourism compression. This means, when the downtown area gets filled up, visitors start going to the outskirts of Knoxville looking for things to do and giving those areas an increase in revenue as well.
For most Knoxville businesses, gameday weekends are busy from Friday to Sunday.
“It’s the whole weekend with them winning,” Hale said. “Like Friday then Sunday because there’s more people in town overall, but there’s only so much volume you can do because it’s so busy on gamedays already.”
Knoxville is already on the map as a tourist destination but Visit Knoxville says having an undefeated football team is an added bonus to the local economy. Bumpas adds that having ESPN’s college game day twice in this season has helped prompt the city as well.