September 10, 2011 at 2:21 AM EST - Updated June 25 at 9:46 AM
TALLAHASSEE, FL (WFLX) If the job market was a football game, then the state is down by more than a few points, with its back against the goal line. The great recession is threatening another sack, but Florida is drawing up a trick play.
Visit Florida, the state's tourism agency, has enlisted coaches from Florida's top college football schools to save the economy by recruiting visitors.
Right now three Florida schools are ranked in the top 25. The tourism agency hopes to capitalize on their success.
"It's really bringing together the diversity of the Florida vacation product with the passion of college football," said Chris Thompson of Visit Florida.
College football is big business in Florida. Every year fans spend billions of dollars on game apparel, food and hotels. Out-of state fans give the state the biggest boost.
For every 85 visitors to the state one Florida job is created. FSU's Doak Campbell Stadium holds 85-thousand fans, so in theory, if every one of the seats was filled with an out of state fan, a thousand jobs would be created every home game.
Visit Florida has teamed with Southwest Airlines to help with travel expenses. They're offering a 25 dollar flight discount and promotions specific to each college football town.
Visit Florida is keeping score. The promotion ends December 5th. The team that has sent the most invites wins, and a fan who helped invited visitors to the winning team's games will win an 11 day tour of the state's top college football towns.