EUGENE, Ore. -- The Pac-12 conference’s decision to cancel all non-conference games for all fall athletics was one of the first of presumably many unwanted dominoes to collapse. From a sports perspective, it’s disappointing for fans. From an economic perspective, however, reality becomes even more daunting.
Local businesses around the Eugene area will take a hit because there will no longer be an influx of fans coming into town during football season. According to Travel Lane County, in 2018, visitors spent $762.3 million in Lane County. And 100% of that spending came from the hospitality industry.
"We are working together to fight these circumstances, just like every other business here in the community,” said Inn at the 5th manager Kathryn Allen. “We do expect cancelations as news continues to break and people rearrange their schedules. We just aren't too sure what the university is going to do. We know that football will come back. We just have to give it some time and we are looking forward to the future."
Fans are just as disappointed and recognize without the Ohio State game, Eugene will feel different this coming September.
"It's just a quality game. From a national standpoint, it's great. But locally and economy-wise, Ohio State has a massive fanbase that was going to come and pump a bunch of money into the local economy here in Eugene," said college football fan Jonathan Waller.
Local hot spots are also addressing the new realities.
"I mean it's definitely going to affect us,” said The Original Pancake House manager Scott Panter. “People love to come here and our food is great. It's a part of the Saturday football experience. But I worry about the people upset with not just our spacing, but also our capacity to seat our duck fans and out of town fans."
Panter said the pancake house has reduced seating capacity from 115 to 70. Those seats will not be from out of town fans, at least during the non-conference schedule.