ATLANTA - The countdown is on for an SEC Championship battle on the gridiron.
After Thursday night's Atlanta Falcons victory at the Georgia Dome, workers are now clearing the way for the highly anticipated college football match-up between the University of Georgia and the University of Alabama on Saturday.
“Before the Falcons even hit the showers, we were out here cleaning the field. It’s going to be a quick turn around, and we need every minute we can get,” Dome spokesman Jason Kirksey told Channel 2 Action News.
A Channel 2 photographer was inside the Dome as about 400 workers spent hours repainting the field, changing the banners and cleaning the 72,000 seats. Kirksey said the changeover takes about nine hours of nonstop work. He said the stadium should be ready by 9 a.m.
“When we get a chance to host a game like the SEC Championship, we are going to do it if it takes working through the night,” Kirksey said.
Meanwhile, RVs began rolling in the area, and other fans said they were staying for both games.
“It’s just easier to stay camped out for both,” one fan said.
The SEC Championship could be about a $30 million boost to the local economy. Stores are getting their Alabama and UGA merchandise ready.
"This year, we plan to make thousands, thousands of dollars because they come in and the line is long. The line stretches all the way out the door,” store owner Eldora Vandiver said.
But experts warn that the economic impact may not match previous years, because so many of the fans already live in the state.