Football playoffs bring millions of dollars to Cedar Falls - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Football playoffs bring millions of dollars to Cedar Falls

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CEDAR FALLS (KWWL) -

Since 1976 the Iowa High School Football Play-offs has been an economic boom for the Cedar Valley. On average 85,000 people attend this event every year.

Walking around the UNI-Dome there is a lot of money changing hands as thousands of fans hope to cheer their team to victory. The Pries family drove four and half hours to watch the Fremont-Mills Knights take on the Murray Mustangs.

"For the first time in school history, it's just amazing to see these guys get to be able to do this. My son Collin is in the Junior Knights. It's his second year so for him to take in this kind of atmosphere is pretty amazing," said Matt Pries.

Families like the Pries are expected to open up their wallets while in town.

"We estimate direct spending for the people who are traveling for the games to be about 3.5 million dollars for that huge influx of people into the community," said Kim Burger of the Cedar Falls Tourism and Visitors Bureau.

With the Knights crushing the Mustangs 81-0 in the championship game fans were almost happy to leave a little money behind.

"Yeah I'm sure we will go out to eat and celebrate," said Pries.

Local restaurants like Pepper's are reaping the rewards of the high school football playoffs by letting fans watch on the big screen and serving them before and after the games.

"UNI just started Thanksgiving break today so a lot of the college kids are gone and typically this is kind of a down week, but with the high school playoffs we definitely see an increase in business," said Steve Plummer, General Manager of Pepper's.

Tourism officials say you can't calculate the amount of exposure the City of Cedar Falls receives from the football play-offs. They hope people like what the see, and eventually return for future events.

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