Football Fans Flood South Florida

By Lindsay Cohen email

WEST PALM BEACH, FL. (WFLX) - They bathe on the beaches, eat in local restaurants, and sleep in local hotels; and whether they're wearing the Gators' orange and blue or the Sooners' crimson and cream, there's one important color between them: green.

"The team and the fans and the alumni and the media -- two-and-a-half to three million dollars worth of business that we probably wouldn't have had otherwise," said Howard Karawan with Fountainbleau Resorts and Hotels. "This week immediately following New Years is usually not that busy."

Retailers say they are busy, thanks to more 75,000 people who are in south Florida for the BCS National Championship game. Fans, football players, the media and more are expected to bring more than $150 million dollars to the area as the University of Florida plays Oklahoma at Dolphin Stadium in Miami.

"We are fans of the Gators. We're fans of the Sooners. But we're mostly fans of the 60-to-80 thousand visitors who will be coming to south Florida for this game," said Nikki Grossman, with the Ft. Lauderdale Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Tickets were still for sale on eBay Thursday morning, with most pairs running $1,000 and higher.

The BCS National Championship game starts at 8 pm Thursday night.