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Old rivalry could spark new business, Aggieland reacts to SEC shakeup

Posted at 6:48 PM, Jul 26, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-26 20:11:00-04

COLLEGE STATION, TEXAS — The University of Texas and the University of Oklahoma announced Monday, July 26, their plans to leave the Big-12 conference.

Even though media rights do not expire for a couple of years, an economic uptick here in Aggieland could come back right with the rivalry.

When Texas A&M joined the Southeastern Conference nearly 10 years ago, the community benefited because when SEC teams travel, so do their fans.

"We saw a big pick up in the number of people that were coming to the community for these games," Kindra Fry, Tourism Manager with Visit College Station shared with KRHD 25 News.

Revenue and economic development are reportedly worth the transition. Meaning, if the rivalry between UT and A&M were to come back... it would be a big deal.

"Once you are in the SEC, there is a status that comes with that. Fans are going to travel to see this," Fry said. "I think you'll have a mix. Some will say "uh, I don't want this" and some will say "Yay, this is so exciting". They are all coming. They are all going to check it out... regardless."

"As a business...definitely good... As an Aggie... You don't see Texas as a threat ever since we separated..... It would be nice to have them back and as a business, it would be nice to have Texans coming to College Station," Rolando Gonzalez, a business owner in College Station said.

Even though Gonzalez, a business owner, didn't have his shop prior to A&M joining the SEC, he knows what the rivalry is all about.

"Business side... It's going to be good. The town is going to be busy. Is it going to be busier than a regular SEC game? ...I wouldn't know," Gonzalez added.

A&M has benefited from being the only Texas school in the conference.....if things change, some say competition can only grow, both on and off the field.

"It's easier to market in Austin than in Louisiana or somewhere out of state. You can get more audience and have them know you are open for business or catering for tailgating or anything," Gonzalez, Owner of Taco Bar in College Station added.

In regards to travelers and out-of-towners coming in for SEC play, if a deal does happen, those in the travel industry say, it's an exciting time to grow and continue to build College Station.

"Just having these people in our community for a weekend or hopefully longer as we try and extend the stay... It just adds to our businesses and adds to people wanting to add business to our community because they are seeing a vibrant community. They are seeing people want to come and visit, not just go to A&M, but see other facets of the community. They are staying all over the community when they are here," Fry added. "We just open our doors and let people come visit."

"If it does happen... It's my understanding maybe 5 years down the road... But if it does happen, it should be good for everyone in town," Gonzalez shared.

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