Audio by Laura Arango-WUFT-FM
For thousands of Gator football fans, New Orleans will be the top destination to welcome the new year. The Florida Gators will take on the Louisville Cardinals in the 79th Annual Allstate Sugar Bowl Football Classic on Jan. 2 in the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.
“It’s one of the greatest cities in the country, and if you’ve never made the trip you should make the trip,” New Orleans resident and University of Florida alumna Carolyn Scofield said. “What better time to go when the best team in the country is going to be playing here.”
Students can expect to have a great time in New Orleans, said Scofield, who attended a Sugar Bowl game while a student at UF.
“New Orleans is such a welcoming city as far as visitors go,” she said. “There’s so many things to do outside of just watching the football game, and there will be plenty of events with the Sugar Bowl committee being put on for the game .”
New Year’s Eve typically brings big crowds to the French Quarter to watch fireworks and the fleur de lis drop, Scofield said.
“Instead of an orange drop or a ball drop we have a little fleur de lis that comes down to bring in the new year, and so that always brings a lot of crowds to the (French) Quarter,” she said. “Also, New Orleans is named one of the best places in the country to visit for Christmas time, and a lot of the hotels are just decorated magnificently.”
Visitors will notice several police officers in the streets around the French Quarter and the Superdome, Scofield said.
“With any big event, New Orleans police usually have all of their officers working,” she said. “You’ll notice an increased police presence throughout the weekend between New Year’s Eve and the Sugar Bowl.”
Those who cannot travel to New Orleans for the game, which starts at 7:30 p.m. CDT/8:30 p.m. EST, can watch it live on ESPN. For everyone else, here’s how to join in on the festivities:
- Tickets can be ordered through the Gator Ticket Office until Dec. 8 at 11:59 p.m. Both season-ticket holders and non-season-ticket holders can order an unlimited number of tickets. Orders do not guarantee tickets, and confirmation emails will be sent on Dec. 10. The price per ticket ranges from $135 to $200.
- Student tickets will go on sale Monday at 6 p.m. Tickets cost $102, and students can purchase up to three student or guest tickets.
- Total Sports Travel, the UF Alumni Association’s official travel company, is offering a package for Sugar Bowl attendees. The package includes two nights at the Hilton Riverside New Orleans hotel and round-trip transportation from the hotel to the Mercedes-Benz Superdome. The price depends on the size of the hotel room and ranges from $345 to $845 per person.
- Continental Capers, Travel & Cruises of Gainesville is offering various travel packages to New Orleans that include airfare, hotel accommodations and game day transportation. The price ranges from $1,200 to $1,400, depending on the flight’s departure location and the hotel. Flights from Tampa, Orlando and Jacksonville are available. There also are hotel-only packages.