This college football preseason is highly unusual for two Palmetto State colleges...because the University of South Carolina is ranked number 7 in the preseason Coaches Poll, and Clemson is ranked number 8.
"Two schools in the top 10 at the preseason, outside the state of Florida, just doesn't happen very often," says University of South Carolina Sport and Retail Management professor Dr. Tom Regan.
Dr. Regan says that's highly profitable for the state's economy. The Carolina-Clemson game usually means about $8 million to the local economy. A USC non-conference game brings in about $1.5 million less, so Dr. Regan says the season opener on national TV...against North Carolina...means an extra $1.5 million dollars to the state's economy.
Hotels and restaurants see a big boost because more people come to games, but even before the games begin, businesses like Gamecock Stop in Columbia, are seeing higher sales because of the higher ranking.
"Year-to-date we're about 40 percent over where we were last year, in terms of foot traffic and people coming but also in sales," says Gamecock Stop owner Justin Evans.
The high rankings also mean ESPN's Gameday will be in Clemson...and likely at USC later in the season.
Dr. Regan says that brings in even more fans and they come earlier, which means even more money. "The longer they're here, the more they will spend, and then every time, if you have another night or whatever, it's easily a half-a-million to the economy of the Columbia metro area," he says.
Robert Kittle, reporting: "Regan says, when a team is highly ranked and winning, even away games bring in more money for the local and state economies, because family and friends want to come to Columbia or Clemson to watch the games on TV with friends and family."
Dr. Regan has been at USC for 22 years...and says he's never seen anything like this. He also says, high rankings also bring fans who've moved out of the state back to go to games. He says he's gotten phone calls from former students in London and Los Angeles wanting tickets.
A recent study by the Strom Thurmond Institute at Clemson found that the average Clemson home football game generates 198 jobs, and means $733,000 in net revenue to the state economy and it means $542,000 in net local revenue.
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