National Championship could bring $100 million to Atlanta

National Championship game expected to have huge economic impact on metro

ATLANTA — The College Football National Championship game is coming to Atlanta, but some worry that having the University of Georgia in that game will mean less of an economic impact on the city than having a team from outside the state.

“No, actually, I think it’s going to be the exact opposite,” said Atlanta Convention and Vistors’ Bureau president William Pate. “Hotels in downtown are already filled, and I think the fact that it’s a drive-in market means more people are going to come that have tickets.”

Pate estimates past National Championship games generated about $100 million for other cities. He doesn’t see why that shouldn’t happen to Atlanta, even though it’s essentially a home game for UGA. He also believes the game is a great opportunity for Atlanta to showcase itself.

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“It really helps the brand of the city,” Pate said. “It’ll give us an opportunity to show off the city a little bit to people who have been here and hopefully, we’ll encourage some people to come here who haven’t been here.”

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock isn’t concerned that having UGA as one of the teams could mean less of an economic impact on the city.

“I don’t think anybody’s concerned about that,” Hancock said. “Maybe there might be a few less people, but what a great atmosphere we’ll have here all weekend.”

Hancock said Atlanta officials know how to put on a great party, and he hopes UGA and Alabama fans will come downtown and enjoy all the activities that are available.

“An event like this is great for the city economically,” said Hancock. “Visitors coming in and enjoying the city, spending money. But for me, the better part is for the city, the people who live here to be able to say, at the end of it, look at us. We’ve hosted another great event, just shows you what a great quality of life here we have here in Atlanta.”

The game is Monday night at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Fan activities are planned for Centennial Olympic Park and other venues all weekend long.