Jon Pierson, 37, an Athens-based Airbnb host from New York, poses for a portrait in front of the house he rents out to visitors on Monday, Sept. 2, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. Pierson sees a wide variety of people use his Airbnb, from newlywed couples to hurricane evacuees. (Photo/Gabriella Audi, www.gabbyaudi10.wixsite.com/mysite-1)

Athens residents and students are preparing to host the Notre Dame football team for the first time in Georgia’s history on Sept. 21.

Ticket prices on StubHub range from $261 to over $4,000 depending on the seats, as of press time.

Though football’s positive effect on local business is well known, another part of the local economy stands to bring in revenue — housing.

Visitors are renting Airbnbs and homes in the area for $2,000 a night. Just like the locals who rent out their driveways for parking and sell water bottles on sidewalks, many Athenians are vacating their homes to bring in extra funds.

With an influx of Airbnbs, home owner Jon Pierson works harder to book nights in his home. But during the weekend of the Notre Dame game, he’s charging higher prices, along with most rentals and hotels in the area.

“Football in Athens makes my prices go up, but it’s also given me more competition,” Pierson said. “The bigger the game, the higher the prices, and Notre Dame is a massive game.”

Scott Talley, broker for 5Market Realty, said the football season creates a tremendous increase in the value and demand of homes and condos near the university. The high value of rentals pushes homeowners to rent out their property for home-game weekends, Talley said.

“One person I know rented his home for over $2,000 a night during the weekend of the Notre Dame game,” Talley said.

Talley lives in the Five Points neighborhood of Athens and has noticed his neighbors and clients renting out their homes or registering as Airbnb owners.

On Airbnb, homes available on the Sept. 21 gameday range in price with some reaching over $1,000 per night.

Georgia football’s economic machine drives past homes to the center of town. For the Notre Dame game, hotel rates range from $368 to $1,000 per night. People often watch games at bars or go downtown after games end.

Jarrod Miller, manager of Jerzees Sports Bar, Moonshine Bar and On the Rocks, says not to underestimate the value of the Notre Dame matchup for Athens businesses.

“Those types of games make businesses whole again,” Miller said. “It’ll be the biggest night of the year.”

Fans have demonstrated their anticipation for UGA’s match up against Notre Dame across campus and social media outlets.

“Everyone I know is coming to the game, we’re all reaching deep into our pockets for the huge weekend,” second-year education major Haydee Concuan said.

The hype around this year’s football season is not just affecting homeowners, but also UGA students who rent.

Fourth-year journalism major Lydia Klopfenstein lives in a home where the owner rents out the house for three home game weekends, so Klopfenstein and the other tenants must vacate the home on Friday and Saturday. However Klopfenstein only pays half of her usual rent those months.

Though Klopfenstein doesn’t love the idea of leaving her room to strangers, she sees the value of renting out a home.

“I know you can make a ton of money doing it,” Klopfenstein said.

Athens-Clarke County is Georgia’s smallest county in area, only covering 121.3 square miles. Talley believes rental prices will only continue to rise because of limited space and an increasing spotlight on Georgia football.

“When people think of Athens, they think of UGA and football,” Pierson said. “That’s why they stay.”

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.