COLUMBIA - Businesses around Columbia were excited Monday following the announcement that Mizzou will be moving to the SEC. The director of the Columbia Visitor's Bureau, Amy Schneider, said compared to the Big 12, she believes the SEC has a larger fan base that is more likely to travel despite the far distance in some cases. She said she thinks local hotels will benefit greatly from this move.
"We aren't necessarily full for every football weekend now, but I have a feeling that won't be a problem come next year." Schneider said.
Holiday Inn Executive Center Vice President Edward Baker said the Holiday Inn has two hotels in Baton Rouge, Louisiana and one in Knoxville, Tennessee, both of which are hometowns for SEC schools. He said from his experience, the SEC fans travel very well. Baker said some of this has to do with the fact that it is so hard to get tickets to home SEC games.
"Other than Oklahoma, no one travels like the SEC because it is so hard to get a ticket for LSU, Tennessee or Florida that those fans that can't see them at home, will come to our stadium to see their teams play." Baker said.
Schneider said the marketing team at the CVB plans to advertise in SEC markets and will figure out how to do that best in the next few months.
"I think the entire community will benefit. You will have people obviously traveling to the games, staying at the hotels, eating at the restaurants, but you will also have people who may not have considered coming to Columbia for business, but because we are in the conference may take another look at coming." Schneider said.