ECU economic spike extends not only to Greenville, but surrounding areas too

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – It’s a huge weekend in Pirate Nation as East Carolina gets ready to take on in state rival NC State.

That means thousands are expected to visit the east.

And it’s no secret, ECU and its related events impact Greenville’s economy.

Freeboot Friday is an event that brings a lot of business to shops uptown. It’s something the city puts on the Friday before every home football game and you can see Pirate Nation is out in full force.

But Greenville isn’t the only city that sees a storm of Pirate fans. Surrounding areas like Washington also see a spike when the Pirates play at home.

Washington’s tourism development director said more people visit the waterfront city when there’s an ECU football game. She said more people means more money and that’s always a good thing.

“We’ll start seeing traffic coming in on Friday’s because people learn that if they can’t get a hotel room in Greenville, Washington is only 20 minutes. It’s just as easy to get from the stadium to Washington as it is to get to the heart of Greenville,” explained Lynn Wingate, tourism development director.

9 On Your Side also reached out to the City of Kinston to see if they reap the benefits from an ECU home weekend.

Mayor BJ Murphy said he thinks it might hurt Kinston businesses because so many people travel to spend the weekend in Greenville.

No matter where you fall east of 95, it’s clear that ECU and Pirate Nation impact the entire region.

Freeboot Friday is just one example of that impact. The event is free to public. There’s food, music, and various activities.

Of course, everyone is gearing up for the big game versus NC State on Saturday.

Don’t forget, 9 On Your side is kicking off our WNCT tailgate at the game.

You can catch some of your favorite personalities at our new location in the baseball stadium parking lot.

Stop by and visit the tent for some fun activities and giveaways starting Saturday morning from nine until game time at noon.

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