By Colleen Ferreira (email@example.com)
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6:30 PM EDT, September 6, 2012
SOUTH BEND – Gameday weekend is almost here, and you may think those football fans are packing into hotels.
But on the contrary.
A majority of South Bend hotels are not booked solid for this football season.
Here’s a list of hotels that still have rooms availability for the season (approximate):
Saint Mary's Inn - Purdue, BYU, Wake Forest
Hilton Garden Inn - BYU, Pitt, Wake Forest
Ivy Court - Purdue, Wake Forest
DTSB Double Tree- All but Michigan
933 Holiday Inn- All games
Varsity Club - BYU
Waterford Estates - All but Michigan
Jameson Inn - All except Mich & Stanford
Residence Inn - Purdue, Mich, Pitt, Wake Forest
DTSB Magnuson - All games
One hotel is booked solid - the Fairfield Inn at Eddy Street Commons. They said they're blessed with their location, but they see a new trend in gameday housing.
"People continue to buy up houses along the area or buy the new condos that are being built - alums, parents,” said Barbara Tenney, Sales Manager at the hotel. “And when you multiply 6 games, plus Junior Parents Weekend and graduation, you’ve paid your mortgage for the year and there are some benefits to buying the local houses and condos and that’s hurting the hotel industry, but its adding dollars into the community."
24 years ago when Notre Dame won the national championship, there were about half the hotels in South Bend than there are today.
Maybe saturation has something to do with the lower hotel numbers?
There are also two enticing away games this year – one in Ireland in early September and another in Chicago at Soldier Field in October.
The St. Joe County Chamber of Commerce told WSBT people are spending a lot of money on those trips for a different experience rather than coming to South Bend.
Other fans and alums are buying or renting condos for every gameday.
Stephen Botsford tries to freeze time in each picture frame.
Every picture represents a different year, a different time in his family's life.
A 5,400 square foot condo represents his life right now. It's a second home where the Botsford family comes to play on football game weekends.
"Loved the construction, loved the area and worked out a deal that was good for us," he said.
His place is one of 64 condos at Ivy Quad, just across the street from the university.
A little more than half the places here are owned by football fans that come in for the gameday weekends only.
That's much like other condos, such as Stadium Village and Irish Crossings, where game day rentals and owners seem to be the new trend.
“We started doing some hotels around the area, but they were always expensive and never felt like home," Stephen said.
Stephen lives in Chicago right now. He's a double Domer, meaning he graduated undergrad and law school from Notre Dame.
His son played football for the Fighting Irish and one of his daughters is in her sophomore year.
"You fall in love with Notre Dame when you're here, then you get away from it and you realize how special it is," he said.
Buying a place in South Bend made sense financially, especially because they have football season tickets.
'Little more than renting a hotel room, but a lot nicer," he said. "You have to be in a fortunate place in your life and have a little extra money."
Botford said South Bend is relatively inexpensive compared to the bigger cities, and here, he enjoys reconnecting with his youth.
"People enjoy coming back because first of all we don't have to go to class, no one is telling us what to do and we can just have fun with it," Botsford said.
From his kegrrator filled with Guinness to a kitchen fit for hosting parties, the TV room to the perfectly designed bedrooms, Botsford is capturing all his new Notre Dame memories right here less than a mile from the Golden Dome.
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