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Over 100,000 Football Fans Head to Tampa for College Football Championship

January 6, 2017 - 12:30pm

Yo ho, yo ho, it's a pirate's life for college football fans, who will head to Tampa Bay this weekend for the College Football Playoff National Championship. 

The game, which will be held at Tampa's Raymond James Stadium, will pit No. 1 Alabama against No. 2 Clemson. 

This will be the first time Tampa has held the college championship game. 

The Florida city by the Bay's $169 million Ray Jay stadium seats nearly 66,000 people and has hosted two Super Bowl games -- one in 2001 and the other in 2009. 

Thousands are expected to flock to the Tampa Bay Area over the weekend, bringing tourism, traffic and a boost to the local economy. 

Nearly 100,000 people are expected descend on Tampa Bay this weekend. Travelers will pump money into the local economy via hotels and home lodging. 

Many hotels are already reaching maximum occupancy, which means other travelers will tap into newer lodging options to cheer for their team and to warm their toes in the Tampa Bay sand. 

Airbnb, the booming business which allows residents to rent out their homes to visitors, expects to generate over $1 million in the Tampa Bay region this weekend. 

"Home sharing is allowing Tampa to substantially expand lodging capacity and take full advantage of this incredible economic opportunity,” said Airbnb Florida policy director Tom Martinelli. “Our host community is stepping up in a big way to serve as ambassadors for their City as the eyes of the sporting world turn to Tampa.”

Half of the anticipated revenue -- about $$529,000 -- will come from home sharing while the other half will come from visitors spending money in the community during their trips. 

Roads are expected to be congested as Alabama and Clemson fans make the trek down to Tampa. The Florida Department of Transportation will use an information system to help drivers navigate through road closures in the area. 

FDOT's Florida 511 Traveler Information System is the state's free traffic information system which provides real-time info on accidents, traffic and construction. 

Other companies are bringing special promotions to the area to celebrate the occasion. AT&T and Uber have paired up to offer free rides to people in the Tampa area. 

Twenty sponsored cars will be buzzing around town picking up riders using a special promotion code at zero cost for a limited time on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. 

The Championship game will be held 9 p.m. Monday. 


Reach reporter Allison Nielsen by email at or follow her on Twitter: @AllisonNielsen.


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