AUBURN, AL (WTVM) - With their season kicking off in three days, Auburn University football is on track to bringing even more money to the local economy, especially around game weekends.
Auburn City officials say hotel occupancy is normally in the high 80s to low 90 percent. But people are making hotel reservations a lot earlier this year, which could have big impact on tourism in Auburn.
Football season gives the cities of Auburn and Opelika a big boost. Visitors and residents do more than watch the games on Saturdays - they spend more money around East Alabama this time of the year.
"We look at the Iron Bowl as being big but LSU is one of the biggest games we see every year from our standpoint. Revenue being impacted in the area," said John Wild.
John Wild, President of the Auburn-Opelika Tourism Bureau, says last year's occupancy hotel rate for the LSU game in 2014 was 96.3 percent.
He says that's a record breaking number that hasn't been hit in the last 10 years. But the 2015 football season is already looking strong.
"Definitely saw the pace for booking pick up tremendously. Many more hotels are fuller now for games than they were last year at the same point," said Wild.
Wild says more hotels are in the works to be built locally to accommodate the growing number of visitors during special events like homecoming.
"We have the misnomer that people think that our area is full from every game and we almost like to tell people there's always a room. That somebody's budget will fit somewhere," added Wild.
And it's not just gameday where people are spending most of their money. Wild says visitors tend to stick around all weekend.
"There's a lot of Friday, Saturday, and shopping as people are leaving on a Sunday. It's great times and were looking forward to see everybody back in town," said Wild.
The first home football game for Auburn will be against Jacksonville State on September 12, with plenty of money expected to be spent in and around Jordan-Hare Stadium.