Home / Sports / College football is a boon for university city businesses. Interrupting it can destroy them.

College football is a boon for university city businesses. Interrupting it can destroy them.



Earlier this week, the Big Ten and Pac 12 conferences announced that they are postponing their fall seasons until the spring of 2021. The news hit companies in college towns where these teams play hard.

“The cavalry is not coming up the hill,” said Fritz Smith, CEO of the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, which promotes tourism near the Penn State campus. “[Local businesses] must come down and try to find out how to survive without a lot of customer base coming in. Frankly, some of them may not be able to do that. “

Penn State was ranked No. 8 in the Associated Press ahead of this season’s college football survey. The team was expected to fight for a national title in the autumn after the successful 1
1-2 season last year.
The school’s football stadium is the second largest in the country, with up to 106,572 people. Thousands of out-of-towners typically flock to the stadium each week during the fall and spend money on local hotels, shops and restaurants.
Happy Valley will lose about $ 130 million in revenue, including $ 70- $ 80 million in direct expenses, as a result of the Penn State game being suspended or suspended, according to Smith. In perspective, the State College community adjacent to Penn State University generated only about $ 8.9 million in total GDP last year, according to a Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis. Louis-analysis.

Coronavirus-related shutdowns near campus caused local hotels to lose 96% of their revenue in April, 92% in May and 80% in June, according to the tourist office.

Judy Karaky, director of The Penn Stater Hotel & Conference Center, says state restrictions that limit indoor meetings to 25 people fewer and a 25% occupancy rate in restaurants have hugged local businesses.

“Unfortunately, no autumn football season will have a negative economic impact on our county and our region,” she said in an email on Thursday. “Having grown up in State College, I personally see the core companies taking a significant hit and I hope our local community does its part to support all of these companies.”

About 60% -65% of visits to the area has no connection to Penn State. The football team is “a big chunk of it,” according to Smith, who estimates that Penn State football alone generates about 8% -9% of all visitors’ spending in the community.

“We are basically a white power factory town and our factory has been shut down,” Smith added.

Varsity Club sports bar in Columbus, Ohio in March 2020.

The situation is not nearly as bleak in metro areas as the Columbus, Ohio, Ohio State Buckeyes, which ranked No. 2 in the nation heading into the fall after playing in playoff college football in December.

The state’s capital region, which has a population of more than 2.1 million, is home to large private employers such as Chase Bank, Nationwide and Honda in addition to state and local authorities.

But Don DePerro, president and CEO of the Columbus Commerce Chamber of Commerce, still says that the cancellation of the Ohio State football game this fall will cost the city “hundreds of millions” of dollars in lost income.

“This is like a double whammy for these restaurants and caterers … that cater to tailgate parties,” DePerro said.

Kari Pollarine, a day manager at Varsity Club, a typically lively Ohio State campus bar, says business has been dramatically slower all summer because of Covid-19. Interrupting Buckeye football in the fall, she says, is another “big bolt on the road.”

“I hope we with NFL football may get some people in, but it’s going to be pretty quiet the rest of the year,” Pallarine told CNN Business. “[The bar’s owners] deduct from their savings to keep it afloat. We only do it because we have been in the business for so long. “

In Madison, Wisconsin, Badgers football games generate $ 114 million for the state each year and employ more than 1,000 people, according to the university’s athletics department.

Rob Gard, head of public relations and communications for Destination Madison, the city’s tourism and marketing organization, says it lost Badger football for the fall and the business environment has has joined forces and received much-needed support from patrons since the start of the pandemic.

“This is really not going to help us start a rebound,” Gard told CNN Business.


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