JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- There were plenty of empty seats, plenty of places to park your car. But despite a much smaller Gator Bowl crowd this year, local businesses say they still scored big.
Paul Glaser with Fionn McCool's said, "Business was great."
Restaurants and retailers at the Landing say New Year's Eve was a huge money maker for them. They say the place was packed with tourists here for the game. "All day long, this place, the Landing Downtown was packed with fans from both teams," said Glaser.
Krystal Purvis with the Toy Factor agreed. ""It was actually pretty busy. We were actually planning on closing at 6, that was kind of the deal. And the boss was like, we're totally staying open."
Retailers say they didn't notice the smaller Gator Bowl crowd, until Tuesday, when the Landing was a ghost town. There was only a handful of folks here watching the game, not the usual overflow of fans who couldn't get tickets.
"Well, gosh, there's like nobody here today. There's a big difference," said Purvis.
But all in all, they consider this year's Gator Bowl a win for Downtown businesses. "I think it was better than Florida-Georgia day, almost," said Glaser.
Downtown hotels also fared well. The Omni and the Hyatt were sold out on New Year's Eve.