GameDay in College Station a boon for Aggieland


Posted on September 13, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Updated Friday, Sep 13 at 8:40 PM

COLLEGE STATION -- Rome may not have been built in a day, or College Station either for that matter, but the temporary town erected by tailgaters outside Kyle Field Friday afternoon had yet to see its first sunset.

"We got in last night, what about nine," said Aggie fan Juan Sierra, who made the trip from Arlington with his family. "We will have about 150 people. The group next to us will have another 200. That person will have another 200. That group's supposed to have another 200. We're going to have a lot of people out here."

The elaborate campground set up on the campus of Texas A&M University by the ESPN GameDay crew attracted students, as well as fans and visitors from all over. The marquee matchup pits Texas A&M University, led by Heisman winner Johnny Manziel, against the reigned national champions, the University of Alabama.

Many who bought tickets to the game online paid a premium. The website Craigslist showed asking prices ranging from $500 to well over $1,000 for individual tickets, making Paul Glenn of Friendswood's $300 online purchase sound like a deal.

Of course all the out-of-towners need a place to stay, something easier said than done this weekend in the greater Bryan/College Station area.

LaSalle Hotel General Manager Brian Gebczyk told KVUE rooms booked up in the historic boutique hotel located in downtown Bryan as soon as soon as the 2013 football schedule was released last October. Now it all comes down to the next 24 hours.

"They're going to be pretty crazy," said Gebczyk. "We have a lot of wild fans coming in, so there's a lot of running around, a lot of hooting and hollering, but we get it done and we love having people here!"

In fact, rooms have been booked up as far as Navasota in nearby Grimes County, with some members of the media covering the game staying as far away as Brenham. Those who managed to snatch up a room within the city limits made their plans months in advance.

"We're staying at the La Quinta, it's really first class!" said Crimson Tide fan Al Spencer of Arlington, Virginia. "We booked it about a year ago."

With some hotel prices topping out at $300 a night, many have made some alternative arrangements. The Glenns rented a house, but whether it was a bargain isn't exactly clear.

"No, we didn't get a good deal," said Paul, who was swiftly contradicted by his better half. "Yes we did! We got a good deal, but we got it early. We reserved it back in March."

Many in town for the game are planning on getting their money's worth. The Spencers have a weekend itinerary designed to make the most of their first visit to the home of the 12th Man.

"We've been planning for a year that we really wanted to come and experience everything in College Station," said LeAnn Spencer. "So We're going to a concert tonight with Lyle Lovett, Robert Earl Keen and Emmylou Harris. And we're going to do yell practice, and see as much as we can see tomorrow before the game, and hopefully make a stop at the presidential library."

"This is huge," said College Station Mayor Pro Tem Karl Mooney. "Obviously this puts College Station in the national spotlight in a way that money just can't buy."

Regardless of the outcome of Saturday's game, it's clearly a win for Aggieland.