YORK--In the fluid coronavirus-era college football scenario, fan support remains solid. Avid Husker fan Rick Pfeifer has had season tickets since 1991, and has no intention to stop supporting his team despite the postponement of the Big Ten Conference’s 2020-2021 fall sports season. Continuing debate and speculation has caused a firefight among the Husker faithful.
Pfeifer said the first Saturday in many years not watching or attending a game has him disappointed. “September is my favorite month of the year,” he said, adding that besides football he has his wedding anniversary, birthdays and college football to look forward to.
Local businesses have looked forward to game days, too, as celebrating and traveling fans bring revenue to town. Bob Sautter of York County Visitor’s Bureau said since York is on the Interstate, travelers to games would stop to grab a bite to eat or stay in hotels on the way to Lincoln. “Under regular circumstances they would have a lot more traffic with the games in Lincoln,” Sautter said. “We do get a lot of people who want to get an hour’s drive in and avoid traffic.”
Besides lodging, said Madonna Mogul, York Chamber of Commerce Executive Director, other elements of York’s business community will be affected. “People aren’t going to be buying things for tailgating,” she gave as an example. Sautter noted the widespread effect the lack of a game day will create. “It’ll affect a lot of businesses.” Mogul said not having a traditional game day will likely have an impact on the city’s pocketbook. “It’s going to affect our sales tax and our lodging tax,” Mogul said.
Part of the money once circulating in York was not only thanks to the sport itself, but to the socialization factor. When they met, Pfeifer said his wife wasn’t a huge fan, but it’s grown on her. “She likes the social part more than anything,” he said. Pfeifer said there are social elements he will miss, too. “I’ll miss the guy who sits in front of me.” The fans have sat near one another since Pfeifer received his season tickets in 1991, and have become good friends (despite Pfeifer spilling pop all over his newfound friend’s belongings that first game).
In this unprecedented time, friends and businesses are still finding ways to come together. “People are being creative to do what they can for the social aspect,” Mogul said. She said she has heard of a group of season ticket holders taking turns gathering at their homes playing yard games and simply enjoying one another’s company. Businesses are also trying to adjust. One York business is broadcasting vintage Husker games for patrons.
“People are still keeping the game day tradition going,” Mogul said. “I think it will look different.”
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