Bigger Super Bowl crowds expected than in 2004

Businesses in the downtown area and around NRG Stadium are gearing up for huge crowds during the week of Super Bowl 51.

HOUSTON - Super Bowl 51 is coming up fast. There are only 23 days left until the big game comes to Houston.

Thursday night, we're getting a better idea of how many people will come to town for the event compared to the last time Houston hosted the Super Bowl.

The banners are going up, barricades are coming out and already people are coming to capture the Super Bowl experience.

"It's good for the city, it's going to bring a lot of business to people downtown," said Ivan Perez, who works at Tejas Grill & Sports Bar.

Wondering what standing in the crowds will feel like? Just ask Perez, who's been working for more than a decade in the restaurant business downtown and remembers what it was like when Houston hosted the Super Bowl in 2004.

"It was a madhouse, people everywhere, it almost seems like New Year’s Day in New York City," he said.

In 2004, the NFL Experience inside the George R. Brown Convention Center brought in around 200,000 people. This time around, Super Bowl Live is expected to draw, over a 10-day stretch, 1 million people.

The top five places expected to see those crowds are Discovery Green, Club Nomadic near the Washington Avenue corridor, Midtown because of its bars and nightlife, Galleria area hotels and -- on game day -- NRG Stadium.

"We are going to have all kinds of options, steaks, burgers, Tex-Mex,” said Adam Monroe, with Hearsay On The Green.

Many restaurants are expanding their menus and their hours.

"There's going to be a lot of people, so bring your patience for sure,” Monroe said.

However, no matter how big the crowds for Perez, a proud local Houstonian working the Super Bowl, it's a chance for our city to shine.

"I'm excited... I can't wait, to be honest with you,” Perez said.

Both restaurants told us they're bringing in more drinks and food. They’re also planning on employees working plenty of overtime to make sure those crowds are entertained.

© 2017 KHOU-TV


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