The economic impacts of the Huskers not playing fall football

Posted at 10:56 PM, Sep 06, 2020

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — While there is no set date on when the Huskers will play, we know it won’t be the standard time frame this fall. Due to that, it’s raised more economic concerns for some industries and not just in Lincoln. It can have a trickle-down effect on Omaha as well.

“It will be unusual to not have those events occurring every few weeks,” said Eric Thompson, Director of Bureau of Business Research at UNL.

Who knows when the huskers will take the field, and because of that, it’s leaving a lot of money unspent.

“Fans to a husker game over the weekend would spend $5 million in off-site in the Lincoln areas,” said Thompson.

Thompson is referencing a 2014 study that showed that economic boost when the Huskers played. Specific industries that are still struggling may have their issues continue.

“The types of businesses that are impacted because the games aren’t occurring in the fall are the same types of businesses that were already struggling with the current recession,” said Thompson.

Those businesses are mainly in the hospitality industry, along with bars and restaurants. Most of those losses will be felt most in Lincoln, but that’s not to say other cities won’t be impacted.

“I have tried to sit down for lunch at some restaurants near where I work in the Aksarben Village area, and on husker game day, it’s hard to find a seat,” said Chris Decker, Professor of Economics at UNO.

He also says the local economy is resilient, but there will most likely be some long term effects.

“A number of businesses will not survive, that’s kind of long term effect we might see some restaurants close down,” said Decker.

So how can you help? You can continue supporting local businesses, like Mom & Pop restaurants, so they’re around whenever the season does start.

“It can be hard to replace your local businesses. It takes time for new to be started,” said Thompson.

Thompson is hopeful for the future, not just for the football season, but everything else impacted by this pandemic.

“We know from history that these pandemics come to an end and I think as that happens, the economy is also steadily recovering so I think in terms of the economy in terms of our leisure and hospitality industry, it may take a year or two, but we’ll be back on track,” said Thompson.

Decker says that Husker fans travel well for the games, not in Lincoln, so he points out some of that money will stay in the state if those games don't take place.

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