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Not ‘business as usual’ for local businesses that cater to Notre Dame football fans

Published: Sep. 1, 2020 at 5:51 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - It won’t be business as usual for local businesses that cater to the Notre Dame Football crowd.

Instead of 80,000 spectators coming from all over the world this year’s game day crowd will consist of about 16,000 students faculty and staff who are already here and hunkered down for the academic year.

A typical Notre Dame home game weekend pumps some $17 million into the St. Joseph County economy. While the impact this year is sure to be less.

“When you look at the other college towns in Indiana and you think about Bloomington and West Lafayette, they have no football at all,” said Rob Decleene with Visit South Bend Mishawaka.

While you wont be able to tailgate on campus, you will be able to attend a tailgate style party in the parking lot at Taphouse on the Edge on the edge of campus. “Gonna put a outside tailgate, rope off a part of the parking lot, put a beer trailer out there, do some food out there, put a television out there, let people social distance a little bit outside,” said the Taphouse’s Jeff Morauski. “Obviously it’s a big loss losing the out of town fans and we’re hoping, we’re imagining South Bend is still going to, I think, come out and about.”

In downtown South Bend there’s already talk of staging a home opener watch party on the gridiron.

“We’re going to market the area for to come watch the game in the home of the Irish so work on a nice list of hotels that might be offering different packages, same thing with restaurants and some bars,” DeCleene explained. “Just those who might be offering good game watch experiences and things like that.”

The situation is suddenly wrought with economic uncertainty.

“We’ve been here now, this is our 20th year you know, years before I can tell you exactly how much we would do. We would plan, we would order, this year it’s kind of a question mark you know. Do I think they’re coming? Yeah, I definitely have a little more hope as opposed to in years past I just knew it was a guarantee,” said Morauski.

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