Shorter A&M football season predicted to impact local hotel industry

Economists tell KBTX a reduced football season with fewer fans could have a negative impact on hotels in Bryan/College Station
Published: Aug. 12, 2020 at 6:35 AM CDT
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BRYAN, Texas (KBTX) - A reduced or delayed college football season could have a ripple effect on our community. As of Tuesday, Texas A&M University will host five home games this season with Kyle Field at 50% capacity.

Spencer Clements, the developer of the Stella Hotel said the pandemic has been tough on the hotel, but that hopefully, football season can help them recover.

“With COVID hitting at the end of spring break basically, we lost a lot of events, we lost a lot of business in March, April, May and even early June and so we’re already kind of going into football season weakened pretty substantially and so football season for us is going to be very important to try to recover from that,” said Clements.

He said even a shortened football season would be appreciated, especially as The Big Ten and Pac-12 announced Tuesday they wouldn’t be playing football this fall.

“Something’s better than nothing and we’re going to be very appreciative if we get anything for football and so we do appreciate that. Five SEC home games is going to be great, not as good as seven total home games, but five SEC home games is good,” said Clements.

With fewer games and fans at Kyle Field, Andrew Rettenmaier from the Texas A&M Private Enterprise Research Center predicted the Bryan/College Station hotel industry could still experience a negative economic impact.

“If we think from June on and if hotel revenues are down let’s say 50%, we’ll see that overall, the course of the year hotel revenues will be down about 49%. Suppose hotel revenues are down 25% or just 25% of their 2019 models, then over the course of the year, we’ll see revenues for 2020 will be about down about 63% relative to 2019. It’s important to remember that during football season about 30% of the revenues for the hotels in the local community come in during September, October, November,” said Rettenmaier.

“The impact really is going to be on our employees because we’re just not going to have the number of visitors visiting the market. If Kyle Field is at 50% and there’s no tailgating, then we’re just not going to have as many visitors coming into town, and with that, we flex our staffing according to demand and so as demand drops, we just don’t have the need for as much staff,” said Clements.

Clements said no matter what happens this football season, they’re confident they can still make it work.

“The good news is that we didn’t build this hotel for six or seven weekends of the year, we built this hotel for year-round and is football important? Absolutely. We love football, we need it, but if we don’t have it we’re going to have to figure out a way to survive and get by,” said Clements.

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