SANTA CLARA, Calif. (KTVU) - Tens of thousands of visitors are arriving in the Bay Area for college football's biggest game. The playoff final between Alabama and Clemson won't be played until Monday night at Levi's Stadium but parts of downtown San Jose are already transformed.
San Jose’s McEnery Convention Center dubbed Playoff Fan Central will offer an interactive fan experience. Plaza de Cesar Chavez and San Pedro Square are also hot spots for foot-ball themed activities. At night, there will be free concerts at Discovery Meadow.
Game officials said they picked Levi's Stadium to host the College Football Playoff Final to drum up support in a predominately professional sports region.
“Was it a risk to come here?,” said College Football Playoff Executive Director Bill Hancock. “I never felt that way. I always felt it was a victory because we were bringing the event, top level college football to an area that hadn't experienced it before.”
Alabama and Clemson face off at Levi's Stadium Monday night. It’s the third time in four years the Crimson Tide and Tigers have played for the title. Both campuses are thousands of miles away. Stub Hub has tickets priced at $137 Thursday night. Normally, they're $475.
“Whether or not a ticket is $125 or $175, I know those people will be in the seats and I know they will be spending money in our region,” said 49ers President Al Guido. “This game is going to have tremendous economic impact in this region. It's going to be over $100 million.”
The Fairmont San Jose is in the college playoff spirit. Hotel rooms there are sold out and the chef is perfecting a special menu of lamb ribs and chicken wings for lobby visitors.
“We are lucky enough to be busy at the hotel,” said Fairmont Director of Food & Beverage Druv Khanna. “I'm expecting our lobby lounge and restaurants to get good business.”
San Jose Police Chief Eddie Garcia said all hands will be on deck with many officers working overtime this weekend.
“Downtown areas will be as safe as we can possibly make them,” said Chief Garcia. “We are hoping to have a really good time and a great game on Monday.”