Penn State fans say they are excited for the Big Ten season to get underway, but it’s impact on business may not match years past.
“That was a big part of my reason to go here. I’m a huge football fan, huge Penn State fan. Can’t wait,” said freshman Michael Kravetz.
“Excited. Couldn’t believe it. We’ve heard so many rumors about it and it’s been teased before, but now it seems official,” said Michael Woytowich, director of promotions at the student bookstore.
The Big Ten season is set to start in late October, and in State College, football drives business.
“We do very well with textbooks. We always say textbooks kind of pays the bills and our profit is generated from the merchandise sales.”
“Normally it’s about 20 percent of our annual revenue. It’s a pretty big number,” said Curtis Shulman, director of operations at Hotel State College.
When Beaver Stadium fills up, so do the booths at restaurants like the Corner Room, but this year, the Big Ten has decided that fans won’t be allowed.
“We are not going to permit fans in general, or sale of tickets,” said Sandy Barbour, Penn State’s vice president for intercollegiate athletics.
With in-person attendance not an option, football fans may flock downtown to watch the games on tv.
“With Gov. Wolf’s changes to bars being closed at 10 p.m., I have some concerns with these people that are coming to town and what they are going to do once all of our doors are closed.”
Shulman says it’s hard to know what the season will mean for business, but it’s a big emotional boost.
“Obviously there’s excitement when it comes to having bodies in our restaurants again during the day and having Penn State playing on the big screen.”
“People just kind of getting in the mood and the feeling, wanting to stop down and do a little more shopping. It still would be much more beneficial if there were fans in the stadium, but we will take this right now.”