By Bud Gillett, CBS 11 News

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – This is a big time for North Texas.  Sports fans from across the country are in town for a bunch of big games.

North Texas is going bowling.

The bowls could bring a couple of hundred thousand visitors to North Texas over the next week.

It started Thursday with the Armed Forces Bowl at SMU’s Ford Stadium, pitting the hometown Mustangs against Army.

Saturday will be the inaugural Ticket City Bowl at the Cotton Bowl stadium.  The inaugural game features Texas Tech.

Then there’s the Cotton Bowl at Cowboys Stadium between LSU and Texas A&M and the NCAA Football Division One championship game at Pizza Hut Park in Frisco.   Both of those games will be played on January 7th.

All of these visitors mean more to this area than just good pigskin competition.  Long before the ball crosses the goal line rabid fans have shelled out hard-earned dollars to come here, supporting favorite teams.

“The whole trip, gasoline and everything getting here is probably $1500, I guess,” says Tom Prem, who daughter is a West Point grad.  He says seeing was “a must, We’re staying in a hotel and we’re here at the game; we’ve been visiting your restaurants.  We’re here for three days.”

For John Myer’s family, the trek from Fayetteville, Arkansas, was much anticipated—and well thought-out. ”I don’t think its too costly if you plan ahead and play it smart.”

While the first game is now history, teams for Saturday’s ticket city bowl are scheduled to be in town a week, meaning 3300 “room nights” for just the players and band members from Northwestern and Texas Tech.  Their fans are already all over North Texas.  Then the Aggie and Tigers fans come to town.

Financial analyst Jim Lacamp estimates it could mean up to $50 million dollars for just the hospitality industry in North Texas.  And it sets this area up for even more potential business of all kinds down the road.

“What I think it does do is establish North Texas as a hub for this kind of thing, it puts us on the map.“  A map with an Arlington destination just over a month away, when Super Bowl XLV comes to town.

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