MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The upcoming college football championship game to be played in South Florida is a nice bit of business for our local tourism economy and it might even reap benefits beyond just another Miami event.

On Monday, January 11, at 8 p.m., powerhouse Alabama will take on Ohio State in the College Football Playoff National Championship game at Hard Rock Stadium.

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The game is expected to bring a little relief to the South Florida COVID-damaged tourism economy.

Bill Talbert of the Greater Miami Convention and Visitors Bureau says, “We just had the Orange Bowl on January 2nd, the 87th Orange Bowl, very successful at Hard Rock Stadium. Went on without a hitch.”

Despite COVID, major tourism events are sure to bring a small amount of economic relief to our area.

“Our community does big events very well,” says Talbert.

The big game for college football fans will be different than in past years due to the global pandemic.

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Only 20 percent capacity will be allowed at the stadium. Also, no tailgating will be allowed, but for the struggling local economy, half a glass is better than no glass at all.

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Team hotels will fill up by the weekend and South Florida locations, such as Lincoln Road will see fans arriving from Alabama and Ohio.

Lucky these two teams are in the game as Alabama is within what tourism officials call the “Miami drive market.” It is an easy drive to get here and you do not have to fly.

“Yes drive market, folks will drive from Ohio as well,” adds Talbert.

A major gridiron contest with a reduced crowd but still packed with plenty of benefits for South Florida.

“The message for the world is that Miami is safely open for business. That’s a big deal. That’s a big deal, limited attendance but it’s safe. Going to have it safely done,” says Talbert.

TV exposure is golden for a tourist town and South Florida’s beaches and balmy winter weather are a major attraction for visitors.

Tourism officials hope South Florida will look mighty good to viewers in the north ready to break out of their COVID bubble.

“This will help us for future tourism,” Talbert says.

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With hotel business off 50 percent, those folks driving or flying in from Alabama and Ohio are looking mighty good to our economy.