For some, in order to enjoy their favorite sports team they need to be in their favorite restaurant or bar enjoying their favorite drinks and appetizers. This increase in customers benefit businesses financially but restaurant owners know not to depend on these customers for sales every weekend because they are “band wagoners” that will stop supporting their team if they stop winning.
Michigan State sports have been major players in weekend activities for residents and in nearby Holt and Delhi Township.
Holt and Delhi Township are only about 10 miles away from Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, but fans that cannot make it to the game travel to their local bar and grills to enjoy the game with other fans.
Restaurant owners take advantage of these customers to help increase their sales by making appetizers and drinks half-off and by purchasing larger televisions so that customers can sit at their tables to relax and enjoy the games instead of having to sit at the bar.
Roy Sweet, the Delhi Township Treasurer, says that MSU brings in the township lots of revenue whether it be a game day or not. Some restaurants in Holt give MSU students great discounts throughout the week that intentionally lures them into Holt to shop at other places.
Ruman Neal is a senior at MSU who prefers to hang out at the bars in Holt instead of East Lansing because they filled with “more mature crowds rather than drunk college students.”
Briana King frequents Buddies Grill on game day because it is a known hangout spot for watching football games and enjoying a good casual beer.
“My husband and I have been coming to Buddies on game day for about 2 years now and I wouldn’t want to go anywhere else. Usually the same people come on Saturday so we look at eachother like a big family now,” said Redmond.
According to Nick Sata, the owner of Champions Sports Bar & Grill, having customers come in to enjoy the game is one of his highlights because sales sky-rocket, however, this is not consistent for every game day every year.
“When the team is on a winning streak everyone is in a good mood and want to be out to enjoy the game and have a few drinks with other fans.However, when they are not having a good season whether it be football or basketball people just don’t waste the gas and money coming out”, said Sata.
Dennis Shumway, owner of Coach’s Pub & Grill had similar thoughts on what’s happening at his restaurant this season. According to Shumway he doesn’t “waste” money advertising for a losing team because he knows the customers will not come out. Instead, Shumway says the he advertises the menu specials that are going on that weekend.
Dr. Guopiang Shen, a professor in Regional and City Planning at the University of Oklahoma has a different perspective on the situation. According to Shen, if it takes for a sports team to increase sales rather than the restaurant’s food and customer service that raises a larger issue and owners should look at how they can do more to increase their sales on the weekends regardless of if there’s a game or not.