Baylor game day boosts downtown businesses - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

WACO

Baylor game day boosts downtown businesses

WACO, TX (KXXV) - The City of Waco is looking to capitalize on the gameday crowds by hosting tailgating events downtown in efforts to increase downtown businesses.

Earlier Sunday, Waco was buzzing with Baylor fans hours before kickoff at the new McLane Stadium. Several streets downtown were blocked off as thousands poured into the city.

Businesses in the area say they saw a dramatic boost for a Sunday afternoon.

Nick Colaku, manager of Portofino's Italian Restaurant, says he noticed the increased foot traffic downtown and thinks it will have a positive impact on businesses in the area. 

“Business was pretty good. I can't complain about it,” says Colaku. “We had a good steady supply of customers come in and even more people walking around seeing the restaurant, so pretty happy about that too.” 

Tony Cannella, general manager of 5th Street Ice House on Austin Avenue, says downtown gameday festivities were great for business. “We opened at 3 p.m. and there definitely more people out here than I expected at that point,” says Cannella. “I got here probably about 2 p.m. Maybe next time we'll open five hours before the game starts instead of three and a half and hopefully get some of that extra business in.”

Waco city leaders worked to open up more than a thousand parking spaces downtown to game-goers. They also offered free shuttles to and from the stadium

Deborah Powell, director of operations says they used eight of the twelve buses they reserved before the game.

“I guess with the excitement of the new stadium and the people, we decided to start our shuttle an hour and a half earlier,” says Powell. “We had planned on loading one to two buses at a time, and in some instances we loaded up three and four buses at one time.”

Waco Transit expects to use all 12 of those buses during the rush after the game.

Waco city officials say while the crowds weren't as large as they were hoping for, they believe opening day was a good start to build on. 
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