NEW ORLEANS, LA (FOX8) - For some Giants fans, supporting the team is only part of the reason they made the trip.
“This game is just a bonus. We are all Giants fans but we all like to party,” says Giants fan Mike Pacella.
Fans say getting the chance to see New Orleans helped inspire them to make the long drive. Even Who Dats from other parts of the country came here, not just to watch the game but also to experience the city.
“We love the food and the people. It’s wonderful here,” says Linda Cardoca.
Mark Romig with the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation says, besides the fans who are now in New Orleans, millions of others will get the message through the national exposure of Monday night football.
“You have at least 13 million who will be viewing the television tonight and you have millions of people who are sitting in bars and restaurants who are not even counted,” says Romig.
Romig believes the Saints have been incredibly effective ambassadors for the city, especially after the Super Bowl win.
“Everyone was pulling for New Orleans after Katrina and then the Saints win the Super Bowl and we are on a roll and the vibe just continues,” says Romig.
In the last two years, the economic and tourism trade in New Orleans has been off the charts.
“Then, when you add all the national championships that we have here, all the festivals that we have here in the next 18 months and even beyond, this is the place to be,” says Romig.
Tourism leaders could not be more pleased. In the first six months of the year, 4.8 million people visited the city. That’s an eight-point increase from 2010.
Last year, tourists in New Orleans spent $5.3 billion. This year, tourism leaders are predicting $5.6 billion will be spent.