Tucson tourism not expecting big boost for football opener - Tucson News Now

Tucson tourism not expecting big boost for football opener

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The city of Tucson welcomes in the tourists, football weekend after football weekend. As for the size of those crowds, it changes on a weekend-by-weekend basis.

Dan Gibson, Director of Communications for Visit Tucson, said Tucson hotels are packed during football season around Homecoming and Parents Weekend, as expected.

For other games during the season, Visit Tucson will do promotions in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Seattle, and Portland. The intention is not just to get the visiting team's fans into southern Arizona, but to reach out to U of A alumni in those cities.

But the season opener will likely be different.

The Arizona Wildcats football team opens the 2017 season against the Northern Arizona University (NAU) Lumberjacks on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Flagstaff is the home of NAU. It's only about a four hour drive for Lumberjacks fans to get to Tucson, so the hotels will likely take a bit of a hit on opening weekend, with Flagstaff fans only staying a limited time.

"I think when you see, especially those 'drive market teams' - anywhere where you can drive here, you will usually get a room night out of it. The games last long enough, to 10:30 p.m. or 11 p.m. It's just a lot easier to stay," Gibson said.

Tucson tourism will see a much bigger boost with opponents and visiting fans who make a full weekend out of it.

"There's no comparing when you play Arizona State at home or UCLA at home, or you get those big schools. We love having NAU come, and those fans are always great. And they fill up the place. It's a good time," said Frog & Firkin General Manager Jonathan Graham.

Graham believes the football season opener is always exciting, and will be to start the 2017 campaign.

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