Local businesses expect Big 12 to bring more customers
Published: Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, July 3, 2012 08:07
Local businesses are optimistic about West Virginia University’s move to the Big 12 athletic conference, as the new competition will bring more fans and more business to Morgantown.
Maggie Charles, a manager of the Euro-Suites Hotel near the stadium, said this year’s game-day reservations aren’t too overwhelming. "There are a couple games that we are already sold-out for, but there are a few games that we are not," she said.
Zach Goetz, general manager of the Evansdale Boston Beanery, is positive about the move. "I think West Virginia fans are more excited about it, so you might get more of them coming that wouldn’t come to a game against a scrubby Big East team," he said. "Our biggest day in the history of this store was the LSU game from last year."
Goetz also felt even if the stands weren’t filled by out-of-state rivals, the standings of our opponents will fill the stands with Mountaineers.
"Now going into the Big 12 you have Oklahoma, Kansas State – all these teams that are readily in the top 25, so if they don’t bring a big crowd I think our fans will still fill the seats," he said.
The Big 12 Conference consists of 10 teams ranging from as far away as Austin, Texas. The closest team is the University of Kansas, which is still about a 15-hour drive away.
Charles was not too concerned about the distance between schools. "I really think that a fan is a fan, and they will do anything to get here. If they want to come they will be here," she said. Although WVU is losing it’s "Backyard Brawl" with Pittsburgh University, Charles also felt that we would begin a new rivalry with Kansas State University.
"We are already sold-out…when the football schedule was released that was the number-one day booked, so I think that Kansas State will be the number-one rivalry," she said.
Other than the distance between schools, another difference between the Big East, WVU’s former conference, and the Big 12 is the populations of the schools. Where the Big East has about 230,000 students, the Big 12 has about 270,000, not including alumni and other fans.