Economy scores from USC game - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Economy scores from USC game

Michael Story Michael Story
Duke Ah Moo Duke Ah Moo
Kelly Hoen Kelly Hoen
Mark McBride Mark McBride
Dan Avila Dan Avila

By Jim Mendoza - bio | email 

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - It's a game measured by dollars and cents and USC football fans are running up a tally.

A room at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel is USC central, selling shirts from Hilo Hattie''s and other scarlet and gold goodies.

"I don't really try to budget it out. I just enjoy it," Trojans fan Juan Escalera said.

He and his wife are two of 7,000 USC rooters here for the game against UH.

Tourism officials expect the state's economy to score big.

"In 2005, when USC was here they brought about 4,000 people. It contributed over $6 million in economic impact," said Michael Story of the Hawaii Tourism Authority.

This year the projection is even higher at upwards of $10 million.

Pleasant Holidays booked tours and shopping sprees.

"Submarine rides, catamaran rides, luaus, Polynesian Cultural Center. We also have coupons for them for dining discounts, for shopping discounts," said Duke Ah Moo, vice president of product development.

Five years ago the Trojans beat Hawaii but Hawaii businesses made the killing. USC fans stayed an average of eight days.

This year, thousands of them are at the Royal Hawaiian.

"We've had USC fans coming in from all over the country, coming in to stay here in Waikiki, stay here at the Royal Hawaiian for the big game," general manager Kelly Hoen said.

Trojans road games are notorious for huge USC fan sections.

"I think what's key for our alumni, they support our team, they support our alumni, they support our university. So wherever we are they come," USC alumni executive director Mark McBride said.

"Who wouldn't want to come to Hawaii. The weather's perfect. The water's perfect," fan Dan Avila said.

And it's a perfect place to lay down some currency that will add up to a different score than the one on the field.

Copyright 2010 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved

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