Thursday Game Economic Impact on Community

Erik Book, the Texas Tech associate athletic director for marketing, sales and service, said the impact of having a Thursday home game first became noticeable when less season tickets were being sold, even though it was the first Big 12 game of the season.

“We had a drop off in season ticket sales from the Metroplex area,” Book said, “and I think that was certainly due to a lot of those people not being able to attend one of the few games that they would likely attend as a season ticket holder.”

Tech brought in about $450,000 in non-season ticket revenue, but he said he estimates a Saturday game, under the same conditions, would probably have gained an extra $100,000 in individual ticket revenue.

View of the new scoreboard at Jones AT&T Stadium during a Texas Tech home football game

Even though a Saturday game would have probably caused higher ticket sales, Book said, the extra alumni and unsold visiting section seats allowed students the opportunity to set an attendance record of more than 16,000.

“We’ve struggled for years to get students to our games,” Book said, “and to have the opportunity to do that, I think, was really beneficial and probably worth the dollars that we missed out on overall.”

Book said anything lost from ticket sales is offset by the benefits Tech will receive from hosting a nationally televised game through ESPN, especially since it was the only college football game on that night.

“2,279,000 households viewed the game last Thursday night,” Book stated in an email, “which is an incredible amount of exposure!”

All of the Tech home games are televised this year, he said, and positive viewership could lead to results such as increased licensing revenue and increased prospective students.

John Osborne, the CEO of Visit Lubbock, Lubbock’s official Convention & Visitors Bureau, said he agreed with Book because Lubbock as a community also benefits from the national television exposure.

Even though last Thursday’s game made less of an economic impact than usual game days, he said, the exposure might convince more people to think about visiting Lubbock.

Osborne said he loves when Texas Tech football plays home games because they bring people into town and excite the local citizens.

The excitement generated, Osborne said, leads people, especially visiting parents, to spend money on items such as food, clothes and entertainment. He said this leads to a circulating and growing economy in Lubbock.

Osborne said the main difference between how having the game on a Thursday impacted Lubbock economically versus Saturday games is attributed to how long out-of-town attendants stay in Lubbock.

On the traditional Saturday game days, he said, visitors come into town for around three days and two nights, reaching Lubbock on Friday evenings and leaving sometime on Sundays

Signage of the Overton Hotel and Conference Center off of Mac Davis Lane, which can be seen from the stadium

For a Thursday game, he said, a majority of the people arrive the day of the game and leave the following day, which means they are staying one less night.

Osborne said the Lubbock hotel industry is impacted because less of the corporate crowd makes an appearance and hotels are unable to book most rooms for more than one night.

Marcie Reno, the director of sales and marketing at the Overton Hotel and Conference Center, said the local hotels normally require guests to stay a minimum of two nights on football weekends, due to demand.

When the Thursday game was announced, Reno said, the the hotel administrators lifted the night minimum rule last week because they thought it would be unfair to ask travelers to spend two weeknights in Lubbock.

“In fact, the demand was very, very high for that night,” Reno said. “We didn’t suffer at all on occupancy that night. The hotel was completely full. It was just that it was reduced to one night instead of two.”

Even though they were nervous at first, Reno said, the hotel administrators had time to prepare for the weekend by opening it up to other visitors and booking social events, including a couple of wedding parties.

Reno said the hotel faired decently last weekend, but it was not what they normally earn from home game weekends because they lowered room prices from the normal game rate.

Main entrance to Spanky's, which is across from Jones AT&T Stadium on University Ave.

Jon Burson, one of two general managers at Spanky’s, said work was a little easier last Thursday than on normal game days because people had to go back to work on Friday.

Burson said Spanky’s usually anticipates $20,000 in returns on game days, but last Thursday the total revenue was around $18,000.

Spanky’s lost a portion of business last Thursday because it was not on a weekend, he said, but they are expecting a high turn out rate this upcoming Saturday.

About Alicia Keene

Graduate Executive Director
Alicia Keene is a dual master's student from Austin, Texas studying mass communication and business. One day, she hopes to work for a prominent news publication in a major city as either a reporter or producer.

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