Downtown Atlanta businesses hope big game means big bucks - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Downtown Atlanta businesses hope big game means big bucks

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ATLANTA -

Downtown Atlanta businesses are hoping to cash in big on a huge football weekend.  The Atlanta Falcons face the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night at the Georgia Dome, and after that, the facility transitions to the home of Saturday's SEC Championship.  

More than 73,000 people will be among the sell-out crowd at the SEC Championship game—which features the Alabama Crimson Tide and Georgia Bulldogs.  The Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates that before all is said and done, nearly $27 million will be spent by college football fans this weekend.

A number like that has businesses in the Luckie Marietta District hoping for a big slice of the pie.  Bars and restaurants are stocking up on food and drinks, and downtown hotels are completely booked.  Stats Food & Drinks, the biggest sports bar downtown, has been preparing for this event for weeks.  Sales manager Natalee Anderson compares it to another huge sports weekend—the Super Bowl.

Tickets to Saturday's game are hard to come by, and officials are warning fans to beware of counterfeit tickets that could be sold.   They say many fans who are searching high and low in the secondary ticket market could run into trouble if they happen to purchase fake or stolen tickets. 

SEC officials say fans should look for the authentic SEC holographic foil which is located in several places on the ticket.  They say the foils are located at the top of the ticket, and the championship game logo in the middle also contains it.   Within the foil, the SEC circle logo and the words Southeastern Conference should be visible when you rotate the ticket back and forth.  

A ticket validation window will be set up at the Georgia Dome's main box office beginning Saturday at 10 a.m.  There, fans can have the authenticity of their tickets confirmed.

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