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Aggie game day brings increased foot traffic for local businesses

Posted at 3:40 PM, Sep 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-28 21:12:57-04

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — The first home football game for the 2020 season has come and gone, so what kind of impact did it leave on local bars and businesses?

Some traditions were kept seemingly the same with some modifications, while other game day experiences were new. Fans say no matter the attendance or the restrictions from COVID-19, the Aggie spirit was still present in College Station.

Mariah Mackay, an Aggie from the Class of 2013, says Saturday's home opener didn't feel like the normal, booming game day vibe, but nonetheless she was glad College Station saw football back.

"But it is exciting seeing everyone in maroon and being in the action. You know when you come to Aggieland, no matter how many people are here, the Aggie spirit is still strong," she said.

Kyle Field wasn't the only place to see a rare form of numbers, so did bars and restaurants after having restrictions on their capacities for so long.

"It's helping our business for one, as well as others," Garrison Hautanen, bartender at Carney's said.

Hautanen says College Station revolves around football, so having it back, even with only 25% of capacity at Kyle Field, was still well needed.

"A lot of businesses needed it. So the fact that we have that back again helps us smaller people and business owners as well, so it's really great that it's back on," Hautanen said.

Ian Seavey, a grad student at TAMU spent his home opener at Carney's.

"I love coming to Carney's and coming to all the local spots just to make sure everyone is doing what they need to do and everyone is making their money. I just really want to make sure these places stay open," he said.

Kindra Fry with College Station's Sports Tourism and Events says during a normal non-pandemic SEC game, the event could bring in an estimated $20 million dollars, but it's hard to say what the numbers would be exactly from a 25% capacity game with some businesses still closed.

"But if you look at a 25% capacity, our hotels were on average about 50% occupied this weekend. It could have been $3 million maybe. It's hard to say. I don't know the exact impact on what went down this weekend," Fry said.

Texas A&M Athletics attracts visitors and their wallets to Brazos County. Last year, A&M Athletics had a $372 million dollar impact on the economy in terms of sales.

"I think that we were able to have people come and feel comfortable and feel safe in our community. I think this weekend was a good jump to take us to the next game day weekend," Fry added.

Fry mentioned people know how safe the community is with its increased precautions surrounding events and the pandemic.

"The fact that it's here, it brings people in town. Every little bit helps," Hautanen added.

The next time the Aggies are back at Kyle Field will be October 10. It's unclear at this time whether tailgating on campus will be reinstated or how long the 25% capacity at Kyle Field will remain in effect.