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Football puts good spin on economy

As the city of Troy and Troy University prepare to host the eighth AISA Triple Header State Championship this Friday, so local businesses prepare to host an influx of customers.

“It does impact our local economy,” said Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford. “They come into town and spend a lot money.”

Pike Liberal Arts School will play in the football championship from home, but the other five teams will travel from out of town.

PLAS head coach Steven Kilcrease said he anticipates between 5,000 and 10,000 people traveling into the city for the games.

“I think it brings in a lot of people, not only teams playing in it, but parents and coaches coming in as well to stay,” Kilcrease said.

Kilcrease said the tournament will begin Friday, but many teams will travel to Troy Thursday to begin practicing on the Movie Gallery Veterans Stadium field. And, of course, many will be spending the night in local hotels.

Kilcrease said the tournament has been held locally since 2000, though one year it was cancelled in a hurricane.

Pike County Chamber of Commerce President Jenniffer Barner said the tournament typically proves to be profitable for local business.

“Visitors stay in our hotels, eat in our restaurants and spent money in other places that, in the end, help the bottom line for Pike County,” Barner said.

Though, boosts in business aren’t the only benefit the county receives.

“Tournaments like the AISA championship brings recognition to Pike County, while helping boost the local economy,” she said.

This weekend, in particular, is one Barner said she’s glad to have visitors come to town. “This weekend looks to be a busy time in Pike County, so it’s a great time to have visitors here. We have Holiday Open house in downtown Troy and Brundidge that have holiday sales going on, and Troy University has a home football game,” Barner said. “There are several activities going on at the university, so along with the playoffs there are many reasons for the AISA fans to enjoy their stay in Pike County.”