TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (CAPITOL NEWS SERVICE) - The decision to move Saturday’s FSU game from Jacksonville to Tallahassee in advance of Hurricane Dorian’s landfall has posed logistical challenges to both the university and the capital city.
Saturday's FSU game against Boise State has been moved from Jacksonville to Tallahassee. (MGN)
Hotels are expected to be completely booked through the weekend from a combination of fans and evacuees.
The last-minute decision to swap venues for the FSU game against Boise State was a huge task for the team.
“It's been crazy. Everything from popping popcorn to getting hay for the horse,” said Associate Athletic Director Rob Wilson.
Friday afternoon, less than a day out, the team was ready. A few RVs had already reserved spots.
Tallahassee residents Kathleen and John Pirtle had planned to travel to Jacksonville.
“It actually made it easier for us,” said John.
But the Pirtles said that’s not the case for everyone.
“We've got some good tailgating friends from Mexico Beach and were completely wiped out last year and they're now living 100 miles south of Jacksonville. So they said they were feeling PTSD all over again,” said John.
FSU anticipates 40,000 plus fans to show, it’s about on par with ticket sales when the game was scheduled in Jacksonville.
By midday Friday more than half of the city’s hotels were booked solid from the influx of fans and evacuees escaping Hurricane Dorian. Kerri Post with Visit Tallahassee said accommodations are being made to ensure space.
“Typically football games are a two-night minimum, but the majority of hotels have relaxed that,” said Post.
The game’s noon kickoff is no coincidence.
“The idea being if you do come to the game you're going to have time to get back to wherever you need to go and then do what you need to do to be prepared for the storm,” said Wilson.
The game is expected to bring between $3 million and $5 million to Tallahassee.
In contrast, the change of venue means Jacksonville will lose out on the economic activity of 30,000 out of town visitors. Jacksonville’s Mayor Lenny Curry said it’s worth the cost to ensure the safety of the public.
People looking for lodging in Tallahassee either to escape the storm or attend the game can go to visittallahassee.com to check hotel availability.