College football is back!
Saturday the Georgia Bulldogs will face off against the North Carolina Tar Heels in the Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game.
It is a big game for the dawgs. It's the first game for new head coach Kirby Smart. Nick Chubb will return to the field, and we could see the debut of highly touted freshman quarterback Jacob Eason.
The game also has big implications for the city.
"It's gonna be an exciting game, sold-out atmosphere," said Gary Stokan, President and CEO of the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl.
The Chick-fil-A kickoff game bring conference rivals the ACC and the SEC together to celebrate the start of the season, but Stokan says it is more than just a season opening match up.
"This game is actually one of the top five conventions on an annual basic in this town," he said,
The game brings with it a $25 million to $30 million dollar economic impact.
Considering the coming shift in the Atlanta skyline, the Chick-fil-A Kickoff is becoming a coveted event. Stokan says coaches and athletic directors have already begun reaching out with hopes of being a part of the yearly game.
"I think they want to play in the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, they want to play in Atlanta, it's a great recruiting base," he said.
Before the start of the game, fans can explore Tailgate Town in the West Plaza between the Georgia Dome and the Georgia World Congress Center Hall C from 12:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. You can also find the Coca Cola Fan Zone inside the Georgia World Congress Center Hall C1-C2 from 12:30 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tickets are required for the Fan Zone and can be purchased at the door for $15. Entry is free for those with tickets to the game.
Fans looking for the traditional Georgia DawgWalk or the North Carolina Victory Walk can see the teams file through the Fan Zone from 2:55 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.in the Fan Zone near the PNC Bank Main Stage.
Game attendees will have to abide by the Georgia Dome's bag policy for the game and fan events. You can use clear plastic or vinyl or PVC bags that are no larger than 12"x6"x12". Small clutches are also permitted, but cannot exceed 4.5"c6.5" with or without a handle or strap. A one-gallon clear plastic freeze bag can also be used.
For college football lovers in Metro Atlanta, the game is just the beginning.
Next fall once inside the new Mercedes Benz Stadium, the game will start the season with two games. Alabama versus Florida State University and Georgia Tech taking on Tennessee.
In the future you can expect to see the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl host the College Football Playoff Semifinals every three years with a game December 31, 2016 and the College Football Playoff National Championship January 8, 2018.
"We definitely feel like Atlanta's the college football capitol," said Stokan.
Kickoff for the Bulldogs and the Tar Heels is set for 5:30p.m. Saturday at the Georgia Dome.