Thousands in town for Sooners vs. Irish boosting local economy by millions

South Bend, Ind. Thousands of football fanatics are in South Bend for the big game Saturday – and they’re spending millions of dollars.

According to the Notre Dame’s recently released impact report, every home game generates about $18 million for the local economy.

But, some business owners say that boost is even bigger when teams travel a longer distance to play.

“When they’re close by like Purdue or Michigan State, people might just come in on a Saturday, go to the game and then go home that night,” said Jonathan Lutz, owner of the Mark Dine and Tap. “When they’re traveling for an Oklahoma game or a USC game, they usually come in on Thursday. So, we get busy.”

Lutz said The Mark had about 100 more reservations each night the weekend of the Oklahoma game than it did during the previous home game.

In order to ensure they can keep up with the demand, The Mark offers a smaller menu home game weekends so they can quickly feed famished fans.

They’re expecting a large crowd of Sooners and Irish fans through Sunday brunch.

So is the staff down the street at O’Rourkes, which was also slammed Friday night.

While a lot of people swing by before and after the game for a drink or two, many of them also stay for food. That all adds up quickly, but fans say it’s a small price to pay for a memorable weekend.

“We’ve seen the OU-Notre Dame game in Norman and we have a list of many places we wanted to visit,” said Oklahoma resident Mert Martens. “Notre Dame was one of them on our football bucket list.”

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