Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Lexington business owners look ahead to how football season will impact revenue

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – In just a few weeks, Wildcat fans will be back in their seats at Kroger Field.

“The excitement of people coming into the store are just excited about the season, excited about the team, excited about sports in general. So they’re ready to buy and they’re ready to buy big,” said Joe Kawaja, president of Kentucky Branded.

At Kentucky Branded, they’re ready to sell big.

“In a lot of cases, people haven’t bought a UK shirt in two years. So they’re very excited to go back out, be at the game and wear a new shirt. They won’t pull the old one out of the closet because they want to wear a new one. They haven’t done it in a couple years,” Kawaja said.

Kawaja says they do their biggest UK apparel and gear sales on game day weekends. Since fans weren’t filling the stadium or even tailgating last year, they missed out on a whole season of sales.

“Luckily for us we sell a lot of state pride and different brands that helped carry us through that time,” Kawaja said.

But the latest from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey could mean bad news for businesses and restaurants that thrive off game days. If 80% of the team is not vaccinated, and there is a COVID-19 outbreak, they’ll have to forfeit the game. Games will not be postponed or rescheduled.

“Missing games would affect us because our football Fridays and game days are big. So it would affect us. It wouldn’t necessarily put us out of business,” Kawaja said.

Kawaja said it would put a dent in sales, but they’re trying to remain optimistic ahead of the season.

“We’re stocking up big time. We’re ready for the fans to come in, be excited and get some wins. And keep the momentum going on into 2022,” Kawaja said.

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