EUGENE, Ore. -- College towns across the country are facing the tough reality of a sacked football season.
On a typical Saturday this fall, Autzen Stadium would have been packed with more than 54,000 screaming fans -- and their money. From concessions and merchandise inside to pregaming at local bars before kick-off, that won’t be the case this year.
KEZI 9 News talked to Mark Fischer, owner of Sy’s New York Pizza.
“Every year during football, we have alumni who come back in town,” Fischer said. “That includes trips to their favorite places, so I get a lot of people who went to school here from 30 or even 40 years ago who come in to get pizza. It’s going to be a little bit disappointing to miss that if there is no season.”
Fischer said that game day brings in double their normal business weekend sales.
“Without that, it’s going to hurt a little bit,” Fischer said. “I think we are still going to be okay. It’s just kind of disappointing, because I enjoy watching football too.”
Trev’s Sports Bar and Grill in Eugene is another popular spot for Duck fans.
“It’ll definitely be different,” server Jane Morgan said. “A lot of our crowd was the pre-game, post-game, let’s go get a few drinks before we head over. I think we’ll still have a lot of regulars still coming in and supporting us.”
Morgan said that while the news is disappointing, safety should be made a priority.
“Football season is always very crazy here and very busy,” Morgan said. “Even the away games, we get a lot of people. It’ll just be interesting not to have that.”
It’s not just local businesses who are already feeling the effect.
The parking lot at the Boys Scouts of America brings in a quarter of a million dollars every football season. On a typical Saturday, nearly 1,200 vehicles are parked there.
“The parking program has been very helpful for supporting the scouting programs in the Oregon Trail Council, without a doubt,” Parking Coordinator Tony Reyneke said.
He said that the money assists the Lane County Behavioral Health Center, the Martin Luther King Jr. Education Center and the John Serbu Youth Facility.
“The most important thing is that we keep people safe,” Reyneke said. “I've just not been able to come to terms with how we could possibly have tailgating and parking for football this season. I think they made the right decision. I wish they'd have made it months ago. The impact financially is significant.”
This is just one of the many service projects for the Oregon Trail Council.
UO is not the only college town reflecting on this decision. OSU is in the same boat, as well.