Monday, November 19, 2007

Perfect record leads to big bucks

Lawrence economy still benefiting from game in KC



The Border War 2007

video thumbnail

¢ 6Sports video: Beaten but still in top 5<br /> ¢ 6News video: Fans cheer on Hawks from Lawrence<br /> ¢ 6News video: Crowds brave cold for ESPN's Gameday<br /> ¢ 6News video: Broken dreams<br />


Lew Perkins, Kansas University athletics director, helped to move the Nov. 24 KU-MU football game to Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo. The game was originally supposed to be a home game for the Jayhawks. Despite the move's potential for loss of revenue for Lawrence businesses, the football team's perfect record has helped make up for it.

Audio clip

Three Questions with ... Chuck Esposito, who sets betting lines at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas

Reader poll

Are you going to Arrowhead for the KU-MU game?

  • Yes 38% 240 votes
  • No 59% 366 votes
  • Undecided 1% 12 votes

618 total votes.

Reader poll

Personnel-wise, who do you think creates the the biggest matchup problem for KU's defense?

  • QB Chase Daniel 35% 1656 votes
  • RB Tony Temple 1% 72 votes
  • TE Martin Rucker 9% 463 votes
  • TE Chase Coffman 6% 289 votes
  • Do-it-all Jeremy Maclin 44% 2045 votes
  • Someone else 2% 114 votes

4639 total votes.

Turns out moving the final home Kansas University football game to Arrowhead Stadium will end up costing Lawrence merchants and local taxing bodies more than the $713,000 that had been estimated just last spring, an economist said.

But frustration with the relocated "home" game shouldn't overshadow what has been a magical season, one that should more than payoff for retailers, restaurateurs and taxpayers, according to the economist who has studied the financial effects of college athletics on local economies.

"You can look at the glass as half full or half empty," said David Darling, a retired Kansas State University economics professor, who earlier this year crunched the numbers for the Journal-World on the economic effects of shifting the game to Arrowhead. "But, from my perspective, it's a very positive thing that this whole thing has played out the whole way it has.

"There are a lot of winners."

Topping the list: the Kansas Jayhawks, winners of their first 11 games of the season heading into Saturday's titanic clash against Missouri, with the winner advancing to next week's Big 12 championship game and a chance to play for a national championship.

Winning opportunities

Also winning, Darling said, are virtually everyone - businesses included - in Lawrence.

Here's why:

While Darling's preseason study concluded that the community would miss out on $713,000 in revenues by having the KU-MU game moved from Memorial Stadium to Arrowhead, the numbers he used in the document carried a series of assumptions.

None of those presumptions - about the number of fans attending games, tickets being sold, concessions being purchased or other totals for anticipated spending - assumed a perfect start for KU.

So, Darling said, while Lawrence this weekend will be missing out on plenty - a certain-to-be-sold out Memorial Stadium, a day of people visiting local retailers and the national exposure brought by ESPN's GameDay crew perched at the base of Mount Oread - it won't mean money out of pocket.

"It's an opportunity cost," he said.

Instead, Darling said, merchants should focus on the extra business that's come in as a result of KU's unprecedented success. KU's home attendance climbed for the third consecutive season, which put more people in the seats and, with each passing week, left them more likely to spend money.

For example, the Iowa State game is typically a snoozer on the schedule, usually played in chilly conditions and with relatively low stakes. But Saturday's game scored a sellout crowd, with an ABC audience catching a glimpse of the picturesque campus with Jayhawk fans comfortable enough to watch in shirtsleeves or, in some cases, simply blue paint.

Merchants couldn't help but cash in, just as they have been during each of the previous and progressively important six home dates.

"They hit their payday this past weekend - an unexpectedly good payday," Darling said.

Even merchants at odds with KU's athletics department have to give it to the Jayhawks. While Larry Sinks would have loved to have KU playing in Lawrence this weekend, he knows that the added interest and exposure already has boosted sales for his business.

Credit deserved

While none of the dozens of T-shirt designs he sells even mentions a Jayhawk - Kansas Athletics Inc. is suing Sinks and his company over the use of licensed words and phrases - sales of the shop's football-related T-shirts are up 20 percent from last season, Sinks said. Internet sales are up about 50 percent.

Thank coach Mark Mangino and his team for that.

"I think he's done a heck of a job, and he's the one who deserves the credit," said Sinks, whose most popular shirt styles include one with "The Fighting Mangino's" printed across the chest. "The store's gaining more and more popularity. I feel like we're becoming an Eskimo Joe's (in Stillwater, Okla.). :

"We're getting orders from all over. We've shipped to 39 states."

Jim Marchiony, an associate athletics director who has served on the board of directors for the Lawrence Chamber of Commerce, said that while it would have been "terrific" to play Saturday's game at Memorial Stadium, the athletics department had no regrets about moving the game.

Playing at Arrowhead benefits the department both financially and in other ways, such as helping with future recruiting, Marchiony said.

"This winning makes Kansas a much more attractive program, and you combine the winning with what we're doing with our facilities, and it's easy to see why we've attracted the attention of some very good high school football players - which, in the long run, makes Kansas football stronger," Marchiony said. "That makes Lawrence stronger in the long run, and that's why we've talked about that from day one.

"What's good for the Kansas football program is good for the city of Lawrence."

GameDay to broadcast from Arrowhead

Don't have a ticket to the Border Showdown at Arrowhead Stadium? You can still catch some of the excitement - early - by attending the live taping of ESPN's GameDay.

The set will be in Lot C, which will be open to the public beginning at 7 a.m. Saturday. That way, fans can be in place for SportsCenter coverage from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m., and GameDay's live national coverage - featuring host Chris Fowler and analysts Lee Corso and Kirk Herbstreit - from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Parking for GameDay is free, but everyone - even ticketholders - will be instructed to leave by 11:30 a.m.

The stadium lots reopen at 3 p.m. for pregame tailgating. Cost for parking is $22 for cars, and $60 for RVs. The stadium opens at 5 p.m., with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

KU-mu game coverage all week long

It's the Jayhawks and the Tigers. The final game of the regular season. No. 2 against No. 3.

Leading up to Saturday's 7 p.m. kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., we'll give you the details you'll need to cheer on KU. So brush up on the words to "I'm a Jayhawk" and look for these stories:

¢ Wednesday: If you go. If you're heading to Arrowhead, we'll tell you everything you need to know, from how much a hot dog costs to the easiest route to the stadium.

¢ Thursday: If you stay. So you caught KU football fever too late this season to score tickets. You'll be in Lawrence. Where can you watch? And what should you know?

¢ Friday: Anatomy of a rivalry. Does the clash between KU-MU date back to the days of Quantrill and John Brown? Or is it a more recent phenomenon, fueled by the likes of Norm Stewart?

¢ Saturday: The man behind the sunglasses. Just who is KU's head coach, Mark Mangino?


killabees 10 years, 6 months ago

Don't worry, the Gameday crew will be here next year. Maybe when Texas rolls into town on Nov 15th. We haven't seen the last of Gameday by any sight.

seattlehawk_78 10 years, 6 months ago

I got a C in econ 101. The only thing I remember is the law of supply and demand.

jayhawkr34 10 years, 6 months ago

well the merchants are complaining about one game, but i guarantee they have already made up for that one game losses, compared to previous years. not to mention dont hear about any of them going bankrupt either

justanotherfan 10 years, 6 months ago

Finally, an article that hits a point I've been trying to make to friends. Merchants benefit more from a successful program that is on the national stage than they do from constantly just barely being bowl eligible. Next year, when we don't give up a home game, there is likely to be better attendance based in part on the strong season and excitement generated by this year. Having game day come to KC and spotlight the rivalry is a huge boost for recruitment. Playing in Arrowhead also boosts recruitment. Ultimately, the merchants have been rewarded with far more than they would have gotten had this game been played in Lawrence.

Michael Leiker 10 years, 6 months ago

"College Gameday Crew perched at the base of Mount Oread??????"

Am I missing something?

Derek King 10 years, 6 months ago

Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but I'm pretty sure I remember one of the Spodcasters saying the only reason the Mizzou game IS this weekend is because they moved it to Arrowhead. I'm pretty sure it was originally scheduled for what turned out to be the bye week we had before the K-State game, and based on that, this whole premise is flawed.

Toto_the_great 10 years, 6 months ago

Correct. Originally, the KU-MU game was before the K-State game. People complained because the KU-MU game typically is the last game of the season. Now they have their wish, but had a give up a little (having the game moved to KC).

Someone please correct me if I am wrong, but was College Game Gay in L-town in the 90's (maybe 95... for the KU-NU football game)? I thought I remembered something about Game Day coming and it created a huge buzz: but the ol' memory ain't what it used to be.

Mike Crosbie 10 years, 6 months ago

I keep hearing the merchants crying about lost revenue from moving the MU game to Arrowhead, which benefits the school so much more than playing the game in Lawrence.

Look at the schedules.....2006 we had 7 home games in Lawrence, 2007 the same 7 home games in the truth of the matter (which nobody has addressed is that the merchants are getting the same amount of games in Lawrence that we have every year, so enough already!!!

Everyone should be supportive of the additional coverage which will boost future potential for all, the school and the community.

Credit should go out to the athletic department for keeping the regular 7 games in Lawrence with the game at Arrowhead as the icing on the cake.... eat up everyone, Rock Chalk !!

Kevin Long 10 years, 6 months ago

I agree! Get over it already! The game is not going to be here, deal with it.

FlaHawk 10 years, 6 months ago

More kudos or Lew and Larry moving the game and making even more revenue. They can spend all they want as long as they bring most of it back in!

Coach Mangino made them look like geniuses this year! And the KU/MU match up should be almost as good next year (no way will both schools come close to this year though).

Don't pinch me as I don't want to wake up!

Go Hawks!

PS It has 50 years since I have seen a KU./U game in lLawrence! The buzz back then was Wilt vs Canisius the next weekend!

10 years, 6 months ago

Toto, if we had won at K-State in 1995, it was likely that College Gameday was going to head to Lawrence for the Nebraska game. They have never been there, though.

Toto_the_great 10 years, 6 months ago

What about this logic on making up for lost revenue... certain fans that were supposed to be at the game now will be at local bar-and-grills to watch it (e.g., me)... meaing that certain business could gain a little (although I feel a little sorry for the hotels... but I think they will be okay).

Commenting has been disabled for this item.