ORLANDO, Fla. — The “War on I-4” — the annual football game between the University of Central Florida and the University of South Florida — stirs up the interstate rivalry each year. But it also stirs up business in and around whichever school hosts the game.
- Economic impact swings back and forth between Orlando, Tampa
- Game draws thousands of fans from both regions
- More Orange County stories
Tens of thousands of football fans from Central Florida and the Tampa area gather for the annual matchup, bringing lots of prospective cusstomers for business owners like Paul Napier.
Three years ago, Napier traded truck driving for owning and operating a business.
It still involves a truck. He’s now owner and operator of a food truck: PJ’s BBQ and Catering.
“You have to find your niche, you have to find something unique, you have to find something that people want,” said Napier.
Napier says he’s found his niche by mostly serving food to tailgaters at big college games, like the game between in-state rivals UCF and USF. While he sets up mostly at UCF, Napier says he’s based out of Lakeland – right off I-4 – in between the two rivalry schools.
“Right in the middle, smack in the middle, so I have to get a jersey half-USF and half-UCF,” said Napier.
Napier says the best part is the annual matchup means he can spend more time cooking and serving out of a truck instead of just driving one down the road.
“When two teams come together like this, especially good teams, it’s pretty exciting and fun, because we’re basically neighbors,” said Napier.