For the first time, the Colorado High School Athletics Association (CHSAA) is hosting the 4A and 5A football championship games at Colorado State University in Fort Collins. The change comes after many years of the championship games taking place at Mile High Stadium in Denver.
Residents and business owners in Fort Collins celebrated the move, saying it would bring an influx of visitors to the city. Local hotels, businesses and are more prepared for the increase in out-of-town visitors before Saturday's games.
"It is nice, we get a lot of business. A lot of overflow," said Robert McDougal, general manager of Jim's Wings just west of CSU.
Jim's Wings has been open near Moby Arena in Fort Collins since 1991. The location is popular among both students and locals, especially during game nights. Their business saw an even greater jump in purchases when CSU relocated the football stadium to campus several years ago.
"It does help with business, but it gets really congested around here," McDougal said.
While CSU home games always help with business, the addition of the high school football championship games provides many businesses the opportunity to continue to cash in on gameday traffic.
"Wings and sports, especially football, go hand-in-hand," McDougal said. "We will have a lot of new faces in here."
On the opposite side of campus, Nick Doyle was looking forward to opening his bar and restaurant to visitors for the games.
"I thought it was pretty cool they are moving it from mile high to up here," Doyle said.
Doyle owns "Nick's" a location that opened a few years ago along College Avenue.
"When I read about (the high school games coming to CSU) I was hoping it would result in some extra business for us as well," Doyle said. "We get a lot of pregame traffic."
While only two teams will walk away victorious on Saturday, some said the entire city of Fort Collins will also win with the partnership with CHSAA for years to come.
"There are a lot of great restaurants around here," Doyle said. "All these families with high school kids can check out Fort Collins and the campus. Fort Collins is a great town, maybe they will come back in the summer time and realize from their time at the game that it is a fun place to be and they will come back."
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