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Games To Bring Traffic, Bucks to Local Economy

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RALEIGH — Labor Day weekend is usually a big score for North Carolina's beaches. But with the Triangle's three ACC schools hosting football games, plus the Aggie-Eagle classic in Raleigh, the beaches are turning over some of their business to the Triangle.

Tonight, N.C. State has their home opener against Ohio. And in just two days Raleigh will host another big football game -- the Aggie-Eagle Classic betweenN.C. Centralin Durham andN.C. A&Tin Greensboro.DukeandCarolinaalso are at home. These games should give area businesses something to cheer about.

ACC fans will have their eyes on the Triangle tonight, as N.C. State's home opener is expected to draw 40,000 fans to Carter-Finley Stadium.

Restaurant owners such as John Ray hope to cash in.

"We hope to get some people in here early before the game and maybe some late, depending on the rain," said Ray, co-owner of Crowley's Restaurant.

As big as the Wolfpack's economic impact will be, it will likely be topped by another game in Carter-Finley Stadium this weekend.

The 4th annual Aggie-Eagle Classic is expected to draw 50,000 fans. Ballpark estimates by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitor's Bureau indicate tourists will spend roughly $1 million while in town for the N.C. State game, but people here for the Aggie-Eagle Classic will likely shell out close to $2 million dollars.

"This game draws from the alumni from all over the country." said Dave Heinl, president of the Convention and Vistors Bureau. "They come in and they celebrate, and it's always such a rivalry."

Other Aggie-Eagle events, such as tonight's black-tie art auction, help the Classic generate more spending, because it keeps people in town for several days.

"This classic has always been a hallmark for us, and we are just growing events around it because it's always been a very important event for both universities and the community," said Sylvia Sharpe, executive director of the NCCU Foundation.