September 5, 2003 - Posted at 11:15pm
JONESBORO, AR -- Home Arkansas State University football games mean more fans can see their Indians in action, but those competitions have an even greater impact on the community. While supporters focus on the action on the gridiron, business owners look forward the activities fans engage in before and after the game.
"Having the change of the coach, I think we've probably seen probably an increase of 15% of people coming in just for the home football game," said Nazir Kazi, Baymont Inn assistant manager.
Kazi explained that not many fans travel into Jonesboro on Friday. Most arrive Saturday morning before kickoff, and leave late Sunday afternoon.
Kazi added, "Now people are making a party of it. They'll come in, check in, go see the game, and eat at Ruby Tuesdays or other restaurants close by here."
Keith Emmons, kitchen manager at O'Charley's Restaurant, added, "We definitely have a sales increase, you know, possibly up to $2,000 a day."
Both Emmons and Kazi said the amount of customers they had depended upon what team the Indians were playing. The larger the fan following of their opponents, the more guests they had. The weekend that stuck out most in Kazi's mind was when ASU played Ole Miss at home in 2001.
"Every hotel in town, I think, was at full capacity that night," remembered Kazi.