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Big game, big economic impact

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Thousands of fans traveled to South Bend this weekend for one of the biggest rivalries in college football, Michigan versus Notre Dame.

That means big bucks for the local economy.

General Manager of Ivy Court Inn and Suites Jessica Fowler says they’ve been preparing for this for months. 

“Today is the single largest day for our property,” Fowler said.

Fowler explained that the hotel made rooms for this weekend available on February first of this year.

“Within a week we were completely sold out,” she said.

Mulligans Bar and Grill on South Bend Avenue looks forward to the game day regulars that return to the pub from all over the nation during football season.

“People come from all over the place,” the owner of Mulligans, Patrick Michael Mulligan, said.

One group of friends experiencing game day at Mulligans traveled quite a long way.

“We actually flew from California to Chicago, we drove from Chicago to here this morning,” Michigan fan Jeff Davis explained.

The South Bend International Airport recognizes the impact of Notre Dame Football.

An airport spokesperson told ABC57 this weekend United and Delta are flying in a handful of additional flights including one round trip to and from LaGuardia airport.

Thousands of fans are experiencing game day together here in South Bend while tailgating in various locations around the city.

TJ Pratt is a Notre Dame fan, he bought an ambulance off of Craigslist and turned it into a tailgating hot spot.

“You meet so many amazing people out here, I’ve made a lot of amazing connections,” Pratt said.

Lawns, parking lots, different properties all hold the parking for crowds and tailgaters for a price depending on venue. 

The Ivy Court Inn and Suites is a short walk away from the Golden Dome and Touchdown Jesus, making it a popular tailgate destination.

“It’s kind of like a bucket list kind of day, and I’m glad that we can make that happen for a lot of people… I think once you live and you’re here, you might forget some of the magic Notre Dame brings, but these weekends remind you pretty swiftly,” Fowler said.

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