It was a big day for Independence Stadium, as thousands of fans poured into the Ark-La-Tex to watch the Missouri Tigers take on the North Carolina Tar Heels. As black and gold battled blue and white, Shreveport businesses were hoping to see a little green.
The Independence Bowl is the area's largest event, said Stacy Brown with the Shreveport/Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau. "Money that's brought into our economy from visitors is important because it's new money into our economy but then it really rolls over several times within the community and really drives that economic impact," she said. The bowl brings about $3.1 million directly to Shreveport businesses and about $6 million in indirect revenue.
That's thanks to visitors just like Ashton Knippenberg, whose family has been in Shreveport since Christmas Eve. "We're staying at the hotel and the team is all there too and they had a Christmas dinner our for us. That was really nice of them and everyone's been really nice and friendly." The Missouri student said missing the game wasn't an option. Her father, who is active-duty military, used to play for the Tigers.
On the other side of the aisle, Lee Hinson, a New Orleans resident said he's learned things he never knew about Shreveport as he cheers on the Tar Heels. "I wasn't aware that this was where the state fair was, so now that I know I'll probably come back for the state fair," he said.
And with stories like that, no matter who grabs the victory on the field...it's a win-win for Shreveport.