JONESBORO, AR --
One of the biggest sporting events ever in Region 8 is Saturday as Arkansas State hosts Memphis. The game has the potential to sell out, but just how big of an impact does this game have on the local economy?
"We've had a huge crowd. I think every hotel in the town was sold out," motel owner Dan Das.
The last time Memphis and ASU played at Indian Stadium was in 2004 and business owners are hoping for same size crowd this year.
"At Econo Lodge we're booked up and at Super 8 we have a few rooms left," said Das.
Home games always bring in fans, but are those fans spending their money in Jonesboro?
"It seems as though business does go up and I have to attribute it to a large number of people headed out to a football game a basketball game or even a concert," said Fat City Grill Owner Tom Fielder.
The first home game of the football season is always a big one for ASU. This year the Indians take on the Memphis Tigers, and businesses say they look forward to this time of year.
"It's great to have ASU in town. It brings in a lot of business for us," said Das.
"Any time we can fill that stadium up it is a tremendous impact on the city. I don't know how many new dollars come into the town, but I do know it changes the town," said Fielder.
Local business owners I spoke with say that they feel when ASU has a home game their business is positively impacted, but an ASU Economics Professor said that isn't the case.
"The economic impact seems to be rather small. In most sporting events the vast majority of the people that attend the games tends to be local people, and when local people spend local money it's like taking money from your left pocket and putting it into your right pocket," said Sports Economist Dan Marburger.
Marburger said there are a few places like restaurants that will see some money they wouldn't have seen without the game.
"This particular game we're probably going to have more out-of-towners because it's Memphis, but on the same token we're paying them to come here so we're shipping money out of the community to bring it into the community so it will probably be a wash," said Marburger.
Extra money or not, the game is bringing excitement to a school and community it hasn't seen in years if at all.