BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — For some local businesses, football season is their bread and butter. Local tourism experts say hundreds of thousands of dollars will pour into Baton Rouge just for the upcoming LSU versus Southern University game.
“Big weekend for football. Certainly, it’s historic,” said Paul Arrigo, president and CEO emeritus of Visit Baton Rouge. “I think it’s big as a big SEC school coming in to play.”
Arrigo says Saturday’s big game is driving tourism and will have a major impact on local businesses.
Sweet Baton Rouge owner Meredith Waguespack says she already got a taste of how busy it could be the LSU season opener this past weekend. Her store is known for her Louisiana-themed t-shirts. Waguespack is ready for an influx of both Tigers and Jags.
“We print in small batch, small goods, so we constantly print every single week,” she said.
Like many Louisiana businesses, football is the backbone of her store.
“We started, the forefront of this business was geared around football season. It’s the heart and soul of why I even started a t-shirt business,” said Waguespack.
Calandro’s Supermarket on Perkins Road has its game plan down.
“I mean without football, I mean outside of Thanksgiving and Christmas, maybe Easter, football is the biggest driver for business of the year,” said Blaise Calandro III, store manager at Calandro’s Supermarket.
The grocery store is preparing as if LSU is going against Alabama or any rivalry.
“For us, we’re expecting there to be hopefully a little bit more volumes in the store and we go through a little bit more of our LSU and Southern theme stuff that we sell,” said Calandro. “I can’t even imagine what it’s going to be like with both of the schools being from the Baton Rouge area.”
Arrigo says casinos, gas stations and grocery stores will see some of the biggest impacts. According to Visit Baton Rouge, local tourism is back to pre-pandemic levels in the capitol area.