BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - It’s been ten years since Georgia fans have dared to enter Tiger Stadium. The hype surrounding Saturday’s game is building and businesses are prepping.
“The only other game that you really see this for is Alabama,” said Ben Blackwell, area manager of operations for Courtyard by Marriott in downtown Baton Rouge. “Honestly, I think that this game has eclipsed even the hype of the Alabama game this year and in the past few years.”
In the last three years, hotels have been popping up around the city. Roughly 2,000 rooms have been added to hotel rosters, making this mad dash to the Capital City an even bigger sale.
Paul Arrigo, CEO of Visit Baton Rouge, says they planned for what could be the biggest football game in LSU history. “Georgia fans travel very well, and they do not come to Baton Rouge on a regular basis. As a result, we knew the Georgia game was going to be big. They were going to come,” he said.
Hurricane Michael’s wrath has prompted a few cancellations, but the Courtyard by Marriott and Hampton Inn & Suites in downtown are nearing capacity. Just about nothing will stop fans from flocking to cheer on their team.
“The interest is just that high,” Blackwell said. “If someone cancels, somebody’s booking right back up again.”
Right across the street at Schlittz & Giggles, they’re also preparing for a large crowd. “We probably ordered about three times as much as we usually would,” said Jamese Bearden, manager of Schlittz & Giggles.
The manager says they expect some 300 people, which is standard on a game day weekend. If you’re wondering how many pizzas that amounts to... it’s a lot. “On those game days, it can range anywhere from about 180 pizzas to maybe 206,” Bearden said.
There’s a buzz in the air football fans can feel and while we might not greet every Bulldog fan with a warm embrace, Tiger fans plan to show them a good time.
“Let’s keep in mind, it’s football,” Arrigo said. “Let’s beat them on the field. Let’s be nice and open our tailgates and our arms and you’ll know who they are 'cause they’re going to be in red.”
The LSU vs. Georgia game will kick off at 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, October 13.