End of Arch Rivalry Series Could Be an Economic Win
COLUMBIA - 2010 marks the end of a gridiron rivalry in St. Louis. Missouri and Illinois will play the last game of a four game series. The schools decided two years ago not to renew the series.
"One of the reasons I think both schools felt it might be a good time to end the series was because it really limits us and hamstrings us on our home scheduling," Illinois Sports Information Director Kent Brown said.
According to Brown, Missouri and Illinois will each make around one million dollars for playing the game at a neutral site. He said this is less than what Illinois would make at a home game but a lot more than a regular road game. While the series ending could hurt downtown St. Louis businesses, it could help Columbia's. With one less neutral site game, it's possible a home game may be added, bringing more visitors to Columbia. Tiger Spirit owner Steve Dillard would welcome another Saturday game.
"Football Saturdays are big. They are the six biggest (days) that we have each year, followed by the day after Thanksgiving," Dillard said. "A lot of people come to town and a lot of people come through."
He said home games and a good team help sales. The more MU wins, the faster items fly off the shelf.
"When the team wins it really gets the community excited," Dillard said. "It is a lot of fun when they are winning." While Dillard is excited about the prospect of another home game, as a fan, he will miss the St. Louis game.
"I enjoy the game in St. Louis just like I've enjoyed the game against Kansas at Arrowhead," Dillard said. "But certaintly I can't pass up having another home game."
Neither MU nor Illinois have announced whether they plan to renew the series.