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Tourism expects big returns during NFL draft

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Tourism expects big returns during NFL draft. Jeff Chirico reports during Action News at 11 p.m. on April 28. (WPVI)

Tourism is expecting big returns for Philadelphia businesses.

And once again Philadelphia is taking the national spotlight during the NFL draft.

One hundred thousand visitors gathered on the Ben Franklin parkway. Cheering their teams' picks and filling local coffers.

One fan said, "I brought $200 with me for the day."

Bob Moore of Baltimore plans to spend on "Beer, parking and maybe a cheesesteak."

And that's just the beginning. Center city hotels report near full occupancy. Bars and restaurants are seeing a boost too.

The Academy of Natural Science, located just outside the event's gates is cashing in on the draft by serving draughts in its pop-up beer garden.

Michele Leff of 12th Street Catering said, "People are excited. I think they're happy to have a beer that is one fifth of what's inside the park, and a great place to come and socialize."

Tourism officials forecasted the NFL draft will have an 80 million dollar economic impact on the city.

Marco Ianuzzi's pizza restaurant in Fairmount is seeing some of that.

Marco Iannuzzi of Luigi's Pizza Fresca said, "Business did increase about 20%. We've been busy for every lunch. Workers from the draft and it's been good."

But major events like the DNC and the pope's visit fell short of officials' predictions. This time Ianuzzi has learned his lesson.

"We ordered some extra stuff, but we didn't went too crazy because the experience we had when the pope was here. We over ordered and it wasn't necessary," said Iannuzzi.

But the publicity the city is receiving this week can't easily be calculated. Mayor Kenney says the draft's impact will be felt for years to come.

"What we're hoping people will think of Philadelphia as a tourist destination, think about it as a convention destination, send their children to universities and colleges here and open a business here, move here," said Mayor Kenny.

There is one day left in the draft, and business owners say come on down.

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