INDIANAPOLIS — Monday night was a big win for Georgia in the College Football National Championship game. An estimated 100,000 fans watched on at Lucas Oil Stadium and in surrounding bars. While Bulldogs came out victorious, the night was also a major win for the city.
“This is more than we expected. We are so impressed by the fans who have come to Indy,” said Mark Howell, Chairman of the 2022 CFP Indy Host Committee. “Everywhere you go you see tens of thousands of these fans. Nobody is letting the weather get in the way.”
Howell expects Indy to reach its economic impact goal of $150 million from the big game. Downtown saw numerous streets and landmarks become activated for fans. A stage at Monument Circle played host to some of the best singers in the country, while Georgia Street became a fan zone.
Kyle and Marlene Shaw came from Washington D.C. to take in the game. They call it a bucket list moment. Kyle has been an Alabama for decades, but Marlene is an avid Alabama hater.
“I don’t know how this happened, but she has this hate thing going on for Bama,” laughed Kyle Shaw. “If it’s Auburn, if it’s Georgia, if it’s Tulane, she will pull for that team.”
“If Bama wins again, I am going to try my very best not to be un-nice,” joked Marlene. She added that if Georgia wins, “My joy will exceed any crap that he can possibly give me.”
There was a fear leading up to the weekend that the cold would damper expectations. Restaurant and bar owners said the chilly weather actually pushed fans into their establishments.
“Once it hit, it hit hard, hit fast. We will take it,” smiled Jeff Huron, General Manager of the District Tap downtown. “I should break a record tonight. We will do better than we did Big Ten Championship weekend for sure.”
These southerners from Georgia and Alabama may be from the south, but they made it clear. They were happy to be here rain or shine.
“We all invested in these nice, big puffier jackets, and see our matching beanies. Our outfits are a bit of a copy and paste, a turtleneck under a jersey,” joked a group of female Georgia students.