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Knoxville businesses say they're ready for homecoming game surge despite shortages

Business owners said they expect more people to come through their doors on gameday, as the Vols face Georgia for their homecoming game.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Football fans are filling hotels across Knoxville in anticipation of the Vols' homecoming game on Saturday. Some business owners said they started arriving on Thursday and enjoyed homecoming festivities before watching Tennessee play against Georgia.

"I don't think there are any rooms available downtown all, that I'm aware of," said Ben Knight, a hotel manager. "If you wanted a room this weekend, you need to get your reservation early."

The visitors brought a surge in demand, boosting sales across Knoxville. Despite the increased number of customers, businesses in the city said they are ready.

"We'll probably, hopefully, double our sales this weekend," said David Cannon, who runs Union Place Bar and Grill on Cumberland Avenue, near the University of Tennessee campus. "It's a great time to make money. It's a great opportunity to see alumni come back."

Businesses said they have seen a shortage of some products people crave on game day, like chicken wings. They said that as a result of supply chain shortage, companies have struggled to keep serving game day classics.

"I made sure I stocked up very heavily for this big victory, it's hopefully coming," said Boo Jackson, who owns Studio X near UT's campus.

The Vols will face the No. 1 Bulldogs and try to do something they haven't done for 36 years — beat the top-ranked team in the country.

The kickoff for the game is 3:30 p.m. on Saturday. The SEC Network will also be on campus to report on the game the homecoming festivities leading up to it. They will host SEC Nation in front of Ayres Hall starting Saturday morning at 10 a.m.