USC pep rally puts spotlight on "football tourism"

By Brooks Baehr - bio | email

WAIKIKI (HawaiiNewsNow) - An estimated 2,000 USC Trojan fans attended a pep rally at the Royal Hawaiian Hotel in Waikiki Wednesday night. They wore crimson and gold, sang the Trojan fight song, and listened as USC athletic director Pat Haden talked about Trojan pride.

The pep rally was held in advance of Thursday's UH / USC football game at Aloha Stadium.

Whether USC runs its all-time record against Hawaii to 7-0 or UH pulls a stunning upset, the state's visitor industry is already a winner. According to the USC Hawaii Alumni Association at least 5,000 USC fans traveled to Hawaii for the game and the Hawaii Tourism Authority anticipates they may spend as much as $10 million while they are here.

"Our head hotel is here at the Royal Hawaiian. They are staying throughout Waikiki and also a lot of people were traveling on Kauai, and Maui, and the Big Island and then coming here for the game, so they made a big trip out of it," said April Coloretti, president of the alumni association.

"Yes, we're spending money, but you know what? It's money well spent," said Daryl Demos who traveled from Los Angeles to attend Thursday's game.

"We've spent money from the tourist places like the International Marketplace all the way to Ono's Hawaiian food. Rainbow Drive Inn. Everywhere," added Demos wife Cindy.

Some Trojan fans will stay through the three day Labor Day weekend and attend Sunday's UH / USC women's volleyball game at 5 pm in Manoa.

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