Crews are working overtime to prepare the Georgia Dome for Saturday afternoon’s SEC Championship game. After Thursday night’s Atlanta Falcons victory, workers are already clearing the way for the highly anticipated college football showdown between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama.
There were reportedly 400 workers in the Dome who spent hours repainting the field, changing the banners and cleaning the 72,000 seats. Kirksey said the changeover takes about nine hours of nonstop work.
“When we get a chance to host a game like the SEC Championship, we are going to do it if it takes working through the night,” Kirksey said.
It’s not just the Georgia Dome that’s gearing up for the big game Saturday, which features the no. 2 and no. 3 ranked teams in college football, playing for a likely shot at the national title. Downtown Atlanta is also rolling out the welcome mat for college football fans.
Downtowl hotels like the Atlanta Marriott Marquis, which boasted welcome receptions and the Southeaster Conference logo on its walls and in convention halls, are giving their best efforts to court fans looking to get the full football experience.
The SEC Championship could be about a $30 million boost to the local economy. The figure is about $3 million lower than in previous years, but still enough to have stores getting their Alabama and UGA merchandise ready.
“This year, we plan to make thousands, thousands of dollars because they come in and the line is long. The line stretches all the way out the door,” store owner Eldora Vandiver said.
But experts warn that this year’s game will likely not boost Georgia’s economy at all.
Alabama fans will likely drive about 200 miles to Atlanta instead of flying and are expected to return home after the game rather than staying in hotels, meaning less money will be spent on not only lodging, but on taxis and in restaurants.
Many Georgia fans will likely travel to Atlanta from other parts of the state, which means money already circulating through Georgia will essentially move from one part of the state to another.