Prime Time Games Don't Mean Prime Time Business
COLUMBIA - With Mizzou's football squad at a perfect 6-0 and ESPN's College Gameday coming to town on Saturday, there's no doubt the Tigers' success means more prime time attention on Columbia.
Mizzou Assistant Athletic Director Chad Moller said the prime time attention will be like a "three-hour infomercial for the football team and the university."
Unfortunately for some Columbia businesses, that attention doesn't necessarily translate into more business. According to some businesses, the later the games, the worse the business.
Regardless of location or history, Columbia businesses struggle more when kick-off is later.
Harpo's, a downtown Columbia staple for almost 40 years has seen good crowds during this football season, but have noticed a difference in business based on kick-off.
"A 2:30 game time is pretty much prime time as far as overall business goes," said Harpo's general manager Justin Ater.
Even though Harpo's expects big crowds this week thanks to Homecoming, Ater said later games generally mean a little less business.
Another popular downtown spot deals with similar issues. Shakespeare's Pizza has been in business in Columbia for 38 years. As the Tigers' success on the football field translates into more prime time games, managers also noticed changes in business. For day games, they get more Friday night business, as well as a steadier business flow on Saturday. Instead, with prime time games, the downtown pizza joint sees less revenue after on Saturdays.
Truman's Bar & Grill has only been around for six years, but it feels the effects of night games. When the Tigers play during the day, the restaurant sees more business at a time that may otherwise yield little business. On top of that, it gets the same business during their usual peak hours. During night games, however, owner Russ Fischer says the revenue can decrease by as much as 50 percent. While the restaurant may be crowded, Fischer pointed out that people are usually just sitting around watching the game.
"Just because you're full doesn't mean you're making money," he said.
Fischer also saw the positive in the prime time games. "It's a double-edged sword, though," he said. "If you've got a good team, they're always going to be on late games. And you always want to have a good team."