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Football fans swarm downtown, and some will be here for days | News

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Football fans swarm downtown, and some will be here for days

ATLANTA -- The RVs are rolling into Atlanta as fans arrive for this weekend's SEC Championship game, perhaps the biggest game for Georgia Bulldog fans in three decades.

Fans of the Alabama Crimson Tide will have something to say about all that.

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Tucked away inside a swarm of Falcons and Saints fans who've gathered outside of the Georgia Dome for Thursday night's NFL game, Tide fan Better Parker relaxed in her RV with friends. The group arrived Wednesday night, a full three days before the game.

"We go where the Tide goes," said Parker.

Some economists say because the SEC Championship game involves an in-state team, it will likely mean fewer out-of-state visitors to Atlanta, and less money.

A spokesman for the Southeastern Conference says downtown hotels are full, and the impact on the city will be at least $27 million.

In addition to the 75,000 ticketholders who will be at the game, the conference estimates there will be an additional 25,000 football fans outside of the Georgia Dome tailgating and taking in the atmosphere.

The game pits #2 ranked Alabama against #3 Georgia. The winner is expected to play Notre Dame to determine who is top dog in college football.

Georgia last won a national championship in 1980 when the Bulldogs defeated Notre Dame in the Sugar Bowl.

"We always come two or three days early to a game," said Parker. "We tailgate, eat out, shop, have fun, and wait on the game."

They'll have plenty of company by Saturday.

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