Army-Navy Game brings big rivalry, revenue to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The rivalry between Army-Navy football is huge, and the experts tell us so is the economic impact the game has on the city.

In economic terms, the event is like the city's own version of a bowl game.

The Army-Navy Game has a rich history of not just rivalry between the two teams, but pomp, pageantry and patriotism unmatched anywhere.

"There are a ton of people who come to that game. They spend a whole lot of money and there is a significant economic impact for us here in Philadelphia, which is why we always want to be the host city for the Army-Navy Game," said Mayor Michael Nutter.

The game may be two days away, but the festivities have already begun.

At the Union League, people gathered Thursday night for the 4th annual Travis Manion Gala, which celebrated the work of the foundation on behalf of veterans and paying honor to the military community.

"It's a great night for us because it kind of kicks off the whole weekend in Philadelphia with the Army-Navy Game," said Ryan Manion-Borek, foundation president. "Go Navy!"

Hugo Lentze of Doylestown, Pennsylvania, made it clear who he thinks is going to win the face-off simply by revealing his "Go Army" shirt.

But Dan Ackerson of McLean, Virginia, said the Army has no chance.

"Well the reason he has a shirt like that is so he knows what part he should wear in the front," said Ackerson. "We're just hoping they show up."

The city is expecting upward of 50,000 visitors this weekend for the big event.

As for the money they will be spending on hotels, bars and restaurants, Larry Needle of the Philadelphia Sports Congress tells us, "We did a study several years ago that showed about a $35 million economic impact for the city. We think at this point that's probably a conservative number."

Last time the city hosted the game in 2013, the teams played in a driving snowstorm.

That won't be the case this year with temperatures in the 60s.

"Weather's gonna be great so we think people will come early and stay late, and really get to enjoy and experience all that Philadelphia has to offer," said Needle.

The city is in the third year of a 5-year contract as host for the Army-Navy Game. Next year it will be played in Baltimore and then back to Philadelphia in 2017.
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