Charleston is Capital Classic's Million Dollar Winner

CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WSAZ) -- If you walked around Charleston Saturday, you likely noticed a variety of colors. Three to be exact. All here for one reason, to see the Thundering Herd take on the Mountaineers.

Travis Cardwell and his friends came in from Huntington.

Thankfully, their shirts weren't the only green they brought this way. The other one, money.

"We went up there and grabbed a bite at the food court and came over here and did some Christmas shopping," Cardwell said. "We'll probably hit one of the local restaurants here before we head back."

Charleston's Visitor's Bureau estimates Cardwell and the thousands of other fans who came to the Capital Classic will add $1.5 million to the area economy. The money comes from hotels, gas stations, and restaurants.

For local businesses, it's a slam dunk.

"We'd like to feed them dinner before the game, and then after a celebration or a sorrow field depending on which team you've been rooting for," Tracy Abdalla, General Manager at Adelphia's Sports Bar and Grille said. "We want them before and after."

While the final buzzer will sound the end of the athletics, a good impression could mean the start of many more trips back for other reasons.

"Maybe those who came, wouldn't have come otherwise, but they realize other things that are going on in the city," Matthew Ballard, President of the Charleston Area Alliance said. "Maybe there's an event at the Clay Center, they pick up a brochure. They'll come back again and again throughout the year."

Thankfully, a lot of business downtown that see the economic impact are mom and pop retailers, which means that money will stay in Charleston.

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