NO economic boost impacts BR

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Tigers and Crimson Tide loyals started securing hotels in New Orleans after the SEC championship early in December.

Detroit Lions fans on the other hand, found out Sunday night they would be in the Big Easy for the NFL playoffs.  Now they're scrambling to find any hotels available even if that means 80 miles away in Baton Rouge.

It may be quiet in Jim Dumigan's office now, but typically, beginning at 8 a.m. each day, all you can hear is the keyboard and mouse, the phones ringing off the hook and the printer spewing out reservations.

"One phone call after another, one email after another, extremely busy, solid for the first two weeks after the SEC," said Dumigan.

Dumigan organizes and sells BCS packages out of his Baton Rouge home. With the Tigers in the running for a national title, he's sold about 75 tickets in a matter of two weeks and has almost booked every seat on the five buses that will be heading to the Big Easy from the Capital City on game day.

"250 seats I have on the bus, I have about half a dozen seats, and then I just turn the page on it," said Dumigan.

New Orleans Convention and Visitor's Bureau Mark Romig said hotels in the Crescent City are booked near capacity in preparation for the Tigers and Crimson Tide to take the field in the Superdome next Monday.

But two days prior to that, the crowd in the Superdome will be cheering "Who Dat" as the black and gold take on the Detroit Lions for the NFL playoffs. Only problem is, Lions fans may be out of luck when it comes to a place to stay.

"We see a lot of people likely coming on Friday night for the playoff game. The game being late Saturday, so they will opt to maybe travel after the game on Saturday night or have to find a place outside the city of New Orleans because the BCS for the most part really picks up traffic on that Saturday night," said Romig.

Which creates an opportunity for Baton Rouge to benefit at the hands of the Big Easy.

"They start looking to maybe stay in Metairie. After Metairie is LaPlace, and then after LaPlace, they start looking at rates and availability of other things to do and they just stay in Baton Rouge," said Dumigan.

New Orleans is expecting around a $500 million economic impact from the Sugar Bowl, Saints/Lions playoff game and the BCS.

The last time the Big Easy hosted the Sugar Bowl and BCS in 2008, their revenues were $400 million.

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