DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fall has arrived in Dallas. The landscape is covered with burnt orange and crimson, not because of the turning of the leaves, but because of the Red River Rivalry.
Only in Texas could a rivalry football game become the biggest tourism weekend of the year.
Preparations for this year’s Texas/OU weekend began as soon as last year’s ended.
For the city of Dallas, it’s the single biggest tourism event of the year, every year, according to Phillip Jones, CEO of the Dallas Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
“Economic impact is somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 40 million dollars and we’re expecting anywhere from 100,000 to 200,000 fans in town,” he said.
The annual pre-game block party at the West End draws thousands and it’s a huge economic boost for bars and restaurants in the area.
“One night of them is equal to about a weeks worth of sales, let me put it that way,” said Jay Khan, owner of RJ Mexican Cuisine.
Khan brings in ex-employees to work just during Texas/OU weekend and begins ordering extra food and drinks weeks in advance.
Game day is always the biggest single day during the State Fair of Texas, according to Sue Gooding, Public Relations manager for the State Fair of Texas.
Last year on game day, the Fair had $3.2 million in sales, and Fair executives expect to surpass that number this year.
The biggest challenge, many times, for fans is getting to the game.
DART brought in extra trains, extra buses and brings in extra employees to help direct fans at the busiest stations.
DART encourages fans to buy their train tickets early using their Go Pass app.
Fans can click on dart.org/redriverrivalry to map their route.
No matter who wins the Red River, the city of Dallas always wins.
“To have a major college football rivalry held in the Fair at the same time is something that is very special and unique,” Jones said. “Only in Dallas and only in Texas could we pull off something like that.”
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