Business owners fear revenue losses from 2020 football season plans

Published: Aug. 10, 2020 at 6:30 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - College football fans look forward to the fall season all year long. But this year may leave many disappointed.

“It will change the whole fabric of how we go forward and what we’re thinking about in terms of entertainment,” said Lexington Mayor Linda Gorton.

The SEC announced fall football would be reduced to a 10-game, conference only season. So for now, fans know the University of Kentucky Wildcats will be playing at the end of September, but what’s still unknown is how many, if any fans, will get to fill Kroger Field to watch.

“How they can actually put people in a stadium, keep them apart and make it a safe sport,” Mayor Gorton said.

Beyond dispirited fans, Mayor Gorton says if fans aren’t allowed in, or even if tailgating isn’t permitted, U-K could see a major loss in revenue this year. And some Lexington businesses fear the same.

“Football weekends, Keeneland weekends, we would normally have a lot more reservations on the books than we do,” said Double Tree Suites General Manager Mike Curd. “So we have a lot of people waiting this out.”

Curd says they were already down to 40 percent capacity on good nights, about 25 percent capacity other nights, due to COVID-19. Now he says people are hesitant to make their normal fall hotel reservations.

“They’re holding off until this is more clear on what kind of capacity the stadium is going to be open to for football and for Keeneland,” Curd said.

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