The Taxslayer Gator Bowl brings thousands of tourists to Jacksonville.
Organizers say at least 56,000 tickets were sold for the 75th annual bowl game. Ticket allotments to both Indiana and Tennessee were sold out, according to the Jax Sports Council.
When fans come in from out of town, they’re providing a large boost to all the local retails from downtown to the beaches.
With changes coming to the sports complex, some experts say that sets up Jacksonville for future success.
Football fans from Indiana and Tennessee are doing what all football fans love to do while they are in Jacksonville.
“Eating and drinking, walking on the beaches,” Tennessee fan Wanda Ferguson said.
A lot of time and money is expected to be spent here with activities like concerts and free tailgates leading up to the game.
We know Jacksonville has been trying to put itself on the map for sports and entertainment. But with changes coming to downtown, Jacksonville is poised to become a destination not just during football season, but year-round.
Alan Verlander is CEO of Airstream Ventures, a sports marketing company in Jacksonville.
He estimates direct spending could bring in $10 to $15 million to the local economy.
He says that could be doubled in overall expenses.
And with big projects like Lot J, the Hart Bridge ramp removal on the horizon, he believes those figures will rise in future events.
“It’s going to be something the fans come to and start really enjoying our downtown, it will put an anchor in our sports complex we’ve never had before,” Verlander said.
With great weather and great places to go, that could keep fans coming back for more.
“If we could come here in January every year I would do it,” Indiana fan Garry Montgomery said.
Both Lot J and the Hart Bridge ramp removal projects are expected to begin in 2020. Dates for construction have not been released.