This weekend Florida State University’s football team will take on in-state rival, the University of Miami. The game is the third-ranked Seminoles' latest test in a quest for an ACC championship and their first national title in more than a decade.
The game is also a big deal for the Tallahassee economy.
“This may be the biggest football weekend as far as college football goes this season," says Florida Sports Foundation Communication Director Nick Gandy.
FSU’s Doak Campbell Stadium can fit more than 84,000 people for a home game, and this weekend’s against the University of Miami Hurricanes is already sold out. Gandy says that's good for local businesses.
“I can’t recall or foresee another weekend where two teams from the state of Florida will be playing in the top 10 of the Associated Press poll, and it’s been quite some time since a game like this happened in Tallahassee," Gandy says.
In addition to the students, alumni, officials and fans who will pack the stadium this weekend, there’s revenue to the athletics department from parking, clothing, concessions and a host of other items. And there are other intangible benefits.
“[The] national exposure for the university is just unbelievable," FSU Athletics Director Stan Wilcox said during a recent university board of trustees meeting. "When you think about what you’d normally have to pay for that in advertising, you can’t really put a dollar figure on it.”
The game will be nationally broadcast on ESPN’s flagship college football program. That means a flood of crew members who will need a place to sleep, a place to eat, gas to fuel up, et cetera. And when you add up how much money that means for the city ,Leon County Division of Tourism Development Director Lee Daniel says, “We probably are approaching a $7 million weekend for games like this.”
Daniel says that’s about 200 times more than what the city reaps during most home games. And he says more of that money could be coming—if FSU keeps winning.
“The more excitement that builds, the more opportunity we have to compete for a national championship—the more and more people will be on that bandwagon," he says.
The university is expecting one of it’s biggest crowds ever this weekend. As long as FSU is contention for a Bowl Championship Series title, Tallahassee is in position to rake in the dough that comes with the chase.