Boca Raton businesses feeling BCS National Championship boost

Alabama and Notre Dame fans fill Boca hotels

BOCA RATON, Fla. - Hours ahead of the biggest college football game of the season, businesses in Boca Raton hummed late into the night as football fans descend upon south Palm Beach County.

Notre Dame and Alabama fans could be seen walking up and down the sidewalks near Mizner Park, a sight welcomed by shops and restaurants.

"Well once you get the tickets and everything, it's just kind of like have a good time, don't lose your mind, but have a good time," said Hugh Matthews, an Alabama fan who traveled south for the game.

Many of the out-of-town fans who made the journey to the Sunshine State opened their wallets and have spent generously since arriving in South Florida.

"These past couple of days have been terrific. Like we did a great Friday happy-hour. This is a late night place. We've had great late nights, last night was terrific," said Alex Brasher, manager at Biergarten Restaurant in Boca Raton.

Brasher said sales have spiked 25 percent to 30 percent in the last few days. He said the bump in sales was all thanks to visiting Alabama and Notre Dame fans.

Hotels also claimed to see increased bookings. Most hotels within Downtown Boca Raton claimed every room was taken.

The Waldorf Astoria Hotel and Resorts in Boca Raton said 240 rooms alone were filled with Notre Dame fans.

Some fans said they actually chose to stay in Boca Raton instead of somewhere in Miami.

"I like being a little away from it. The key thing is actually being here with friends and we're all here and that's what matters," said Mark Staelgraeve, a Notre Dame fan visiting from Chicago.

Some fans WPTV NewsChannel 5 spoke with said they are going to stay a few extra days after the game to make the trip a complete vacation.

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