Fans and staff at the Metrocentre hope the Rock River Raptors will be a big win for Rockford.
"If indications are right between the Ice Hogs and Raptors we've got 2 great products that will be very well received,” says Centre events GM Corey Pearson.
Even though this is the first home game the Raptors already have thousands of committed fans. They're thrilled to have their own football team here in Rockford. Members of management hope the enthusiasm at the home opener continues throughout the season.
"Fan response has been unbelievable. I was hoping for 75% of what we got. The buzz has been great," says Pearson.
Thousands of fans going out to Raptors games could bring a lot of green to downtown Rockford.
"Timing is going to bring more people downtown and attract people to shops and restaurants."
The games are geared towards being family friendly. There's one section set aside where no alcoholic beverages will be served. The atmosphere is much different than outdoor football.
"It's like you're going to a rock concert and there just happens to be a football game there," says Pearson.
The raptors have eight home games scheduled over the next four months.