Local Businesses Brace for Boom from Bama Gama

By: Kim Bedford
By: Kim Bedford

Knoxville (WVLT) - It's a big game for the Vols and Vol fans, and retailers are just as excited.

Alabama is one of the Vols biggest rivals, which means you can expect more than a hundred thousand fans here on campus Saturday.

And it's the spending throughout the weekend that local businesses are smiling about.

"It's Alabama. I don't need to say any more," says Dan Price, a ticket scalper.

As the Tide rolls in, So does the money.

"For a store like this, football is the driving force of the business," says Debi Hyatt. On-campus bookstores like McMillan's say Saturday's game against Alabama will clear a lot of their Vols merchandise off the shelves.

"It'll be quite compact in here," Hyatt says.

Some fans are already gearing up for the big game.

"My little boy came from Los Angeles, California to wear the colors of Tennessee...'Yeah!" says one fan.

A lot of out-of-towners are staying here at the Crowne Plaza Hotel downtown.

"About 50% of our guests are Tennessee fans and about 50% are Alabama fans, so it's a fun mix," Crowne Plaza General Manager Ken Knight.

Guests the Crowne Plaza says they didn't see this time last year.

"Things had started to go down hill. People were cancelling reservations, they weren't as excited about making the trip to Knoxville for the games," Knight says.

But this season, fans can't seem to get enough of the Vols victories.

"Every Monday after a win we get more and more calls," says Knight.

Scalpers like Dan Price say they're selling more and more tickets.

"The busier I am, the better I like it," says Price.

And this year Price is loving the Vols, and what's in his wallet.

"When you buy these things, they're yours, and last year was ouch. This year was 'Hello bank!'" says Price.

While so many are hoping the Vols beat Bama, scalpers and retailers say the further UT goes this season, the more money they'll rake in.
And remember, you can catch the big game Saturday right here on Volunteer TV at 3:30 p.m.


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