Game day means millions to SEC schools, states

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Fans heading to Southeastern Conference football games are hitting the ATM on the way and bringing their credit cards too.

Game day in the SEC is big business.

Kickoff means devoted fans spending millions on hotels, parking, clothing, food and drink around the SEC - an obsession in nine states and one that is nearly unrivaled in 5 of those where there's no major professional competition.

Twenty years ago, Brian Harrison paid $45,000 to tailgate in a converted railroad car next to Williams-Brice Stadium in Columbia, S.C. He says there's really no way to put a price on an experience that now goes for more than $200,000.

But there is a price tag, and willing fans are anteing up.

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