EL PASO - Thousands of fans are also arriving in El Paso for the 2011 Hyundai Sun Bowl. It's expected to generate millions of dollars and hundreds of jobs this week.
From restaurants to hotels, business owners are gearing up for what should be a very busy week leading up to the game on Saturday. We caught up with one restaurant owner near UTEP who says this week is one of the busiest times of the year.
It's usually pretty busy anytime of the year at Ardovino's Pizza on Cincinnati Street. But with the Sun Bowl less than a week away the pace is picking up.
"It's always one of the busiest weeks of the year. We're excited about it," said owner Mike Myers.
He says business picks up in the days leading up to the game and he has extra staff on hand to keep up with the crowds. The Sun Bowl estimates 16,000 out-of-towners will be traveling to the Sun City this year. That's a record, according to organizers.
Myers is in the perfect place right across from UTEP to draw in new customers.
"The Sun Bowl is such a big tradition that you get people who go out for the game, and a lot of people from out of town walking through the neighborhood looking for a place to eat," said Myers.
Last year the Sun Bowl generated $24 million for El Paso and created 393 new jobs. Ardovino's Pizza has two other locations, one on the west side and another on the east side, and all three see a boost in business from the out-of-town fans.
"They like to come to the area before the game because they can familiarize themselves with it and eat at the different places. They've always got great stories and are great people," said Myers.
And it's not just businesses that benefit from the Sun Bowl. El Paso County and Sun Metro raked in nearly $400-thousand in tax revenue during the last week in 2010.