Soccer in the Scenic City boosts southside business
CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. —
The Chattahooligans cheer on their favorite soccer team inside Finley Stadium.
Come Saturday, they'll be back again along with thousands of other fans, trying to Fill Fort Finley.
But, before each game and after a big win, fans and players need somewhere to go to prepare and celebrate.
At T-Bones, they're already preparing for this weekend's CFC Semifinal match.
"Anytime the soccer team or any event is at the stadium - it helps our business. It brings people downtown," said Charlier Danner, T-Bones owner.
Charlie Danner and his wife have owned the restaurant here for 14 years.
They've seen a lot of changes on the southside during that time.
"In the past, soccer wasn't that big of deal. Football was a big deal," said Danner.
CFC General Manager Sean McDaniel can attest - soccer is taking over in Chattanooga.
He says attendance is up 30 percent from last year.
This season, on average, 1,000 more fans are attending games.
The team is even getting natinonal attention for their number one ranking in the NPSL.
Last weekend, in the playoffs, more than 10,000 fans filled Finley.
T-Bones isn't the only southside business taking notice.
"We've seen a very big rise in the guests that come in before games and even after games. They'll come in before to eat and then afterwards to drink," said Joshua Lang, Southside Social Manager.
Lang says some of the players stop by after the games, too.
"They are famous. They're southside famous," he said.
Both restaurants agree, CFC brings big business.
"I would never have expected to see so many people come for soccer," Lang added.
This Saturday, the National Championship Semifinal game begins at 7:30.
Gates open at six. Tickets are still available.
Tailgating under the First Tennessee Pavilion will begin at 2:30.