COLUMBUS, Ga. (WTVM) -The excitement and anticipations are high for the thousands of people going to Friday night’s hockey game at the Columbus Civic Center.
Officials say expectations are even higher for the economic impact these games generate for the city.
“The city should be making a cool half-million dollars off of us," says Scott Brand, president and general manager of the Columbus River Dragons.
Brand says well over 3,000 presale tickets were sold in the first home game for the team.
“We think we might actually set a league record,” says Brand.
This stadium is set to seat more than 7,000 people with a cap of 6,000. Fans say it’s good to be able to see a team back on the ice.
“I moved from Washington and I was thinking maybe there’s hockey here in Columbus. They had the Cottonmouths, but they were disbanded. It’s good to see the team back,” says hockey fan Dionicio Maldonado.
“I think people are going to go out and support it. I bought tickets to support,” says excited fan Debra Elkins.
Brand says this new team will bring in more than half a million dollars for the city.
“We’re paying the city over $100,000 for the lease here. They should generate over $435,000 in concession revenue,” Brand explains.
He says that doesn’t include hotel usage for players and teams. Visiting teams will spend around 40 collective nights in hotels throughout the city. Brand says when you factor the players and their families, there are more than 400 hotel rooms used during team visits. Brand says the best impact will be on the fans, who will see their team back in action for the first time in 2 years.
“We love that we’ve been accepted into the family of Columbus. The fans are great and the city is great. Let’s bring a championship to Columbus,” says Brand.
“I’m excited to see the River Dragons returning back to Columbus. We missed them and we’re looking forward to seeing them again,” says Columbus resident John Brown.
The first home game is Friday at 7:30 p.m. EST. There is a game scheduled for Saturday at 6 p.m.