Sugar Bowl match-up expected to bring hundred of millions of dollars to New Orleans

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - Tickets are now on sale for a must-see match-up.

New Orleans only hosts the Sugar Bowl semi-final every three years, but this year, organizers couldn't be more pleased as number one Clemson facing off against number four Alabama.

It's a game they believe will bring hundreds of millions of dollars to the Crescent City.

"We'll decide it all here, come January first," said Allstate Sugar Bowl Chief Operating Officer Jeff Hundley.

Sugar Bowl leaders say the match-up couldn't be sweeter.

"You wait three years to host a semi-final again and you hope you have a home run with the match-up finally arrives and we think we've hit one with Alabama and Clemson," said Hundley.

They are two, top-tier teams, both with championship-winning head coaches and a rivalry, to boot.

Alabama and Clemson have each taken home a title the past two years. Last year, it was Clemson in Tampa. In 2016, Alabama took the championship in Arizona.

Both coaches also have a history here.

Nick Saban won a national championship in the super dome as a head coach for LSU and Alabama.

"They've had success in the dome so we're pretty sure Alabama's going to arrive in big numbers," said Kristian Sonnier for the Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney tasted victory in New Orleans more than a decade ago.

"He played for the University of Alabama in the last game he played in for Alabama was right here in the Superdome when they won the national championship against Miami in 1993," said Hundley.

Hundley says the draw is there, especially considering both teams have die-hard supporters who won't hesitate to make the trip.

"Their fan bases are fabulous. They have alumni that have proven time and time again that they'll travel, spend money in the cities they go to," said Hundley. "We know that's going to happen in a big way, for the hotels, the restaurants, the taxis and so on, throughout the city."

Hundley says the last semifinal in 2015 brought in nearly $300 million for New Orleans and this year he expects to meet, if not exceed that figure.

"To have those two power houses come to New Orleans, start off our New Year's, it's great for the city, it's great for Manning's," said Manning's manager Ryan Haro.

Haro says any big football game is a big day for them, but this year, he says it could be huge with visitors extending their New Years vacations for the duel.

"With Clemson coming out on top and Alabama ranked fourth of this year, I think it's going to be a very interesting rivalry. And it's going to bring people, not only from their home states, but from the city. They're going to come out and enjoy all the festivities that they have going on," Haro explained.

Hundley says the response has already been overwhelming with a slew of fans calling and emailing for tickets.

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