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Bayou Classic 2012 gives fans, city of N.O. much to be thankful for

17th December 2012   ·   0 Comments

Again this year the 39th Annual Bayou Classic brought several family-friendly events to New Orleans and thousands of visitors to the city of New Orleans.

The Bayou Classic is the annual extravaganza bringing the fans and alumni of Southern University and Grambling State University to New Orleans each November for a celebration of football, family and the traditions and pageantry surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities. With an estimated economic impact of $30 million, the Bayou Classic is an important event for the City of New Orleans.

The official attendance for this year’s Bayou Classic was:

• Battle of the Bands and Greek Show: 24,293

• Bayou Classic: 45,980.

According to officials this year’s Classic saw an increase in attendance for both events. And, as reported annually by the online news site HBCU Lifestyle, Bayou Classic moved up two positions as the second largest HBCU Football Classic and the only Classic on the list with increased attendance from 2011.

“It is exciting to see the increase in attendance in all of our events this year,” said Dottie Belletto, president and CEO of New Orleans Convention Company, Inc. (NOCCI), the management firm of the Bayou Classic.

“Our strategy for Bayou Classic is working with last year our focus on making Bayou Classic a family event that provides something for alumni, visitors and the community of New Orleans and this year focused on continued growth in attendance for all events that make up Bayou Classic weekend.”

Reports from the New Orleans Convention & Visitors Bureau show that hotel occupancy for Friday night was 93 percent and Saturday was 92 percent. It is projected that Bayou Classic brings 200,000+ visitors to the city annually.

“The Bayou Classic has always been about football as well as the festive meeting of rival teams, bands and fraternities and sororities in competition for bragging rights until the next year,” added Belletto. “Our efforts to broaden the events and festivities for Bayou Classic are making the impact we wanted—more visitors and more attendees.”

The Southern University Jaguars won this year’s contest 38-33.

The Bayou Classic features one of America’s greatest college sports rivalries, bringing the fans and alumni of Southern University and Grambling State University to New Orleans for a celebration of football, family and the traditions and pageantry surrounding Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Last year, the two schools split $1.32 million in proceeds from the series of Bayou Classic events. These proceeds provide support to the campuses’ athletic programs and fund scholarships through the SU System Foundation and the GSU Foundation.

This article was originally published in the December 17, 2012 print edition of The Louisiana Weekly newspaper

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