Owners expecting lower sales, but trying new ideas to bring in customers
(Update: Adding video, comment from bar owners)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) — This weekend was supposed to be the start of football season for the Ducks and Beavers.
But there won’t be any pac-12 games on tv at local sports bars this weekend.
“First reaction was, a stab to the heart,” John Nolan, the owner of the The Hideaway Tavern in Bend, told NewsChannel 21 on Friday. “Because obviously that’s a huge part of our business and obviously we’ve been looking forward to sports coming back.”
The postponement of the fall season by the conference means the next few months could prove difficult for Nolan.
“Saturdays are standing room only for Ducks games and Beaver games,” he said. “Without sports we don’t have the big cliental because it’s more of downtowner night.”
Nolan said he was hoping to regain some percentage of lost sales this fall after being forced to reduce capacity since reopening in June.
“With sports (back) and the lack seating, we’re still closer to 65 or 70 percent (of revenue), potentially,” he said. “My fear is that we’re going to be back stuck at 50 percent on those days.”
Nolan is hoping other leagues move to fill the void left by the Pac-12, and he’s started to see some rebound.
Jacob Biber, owner of the Backyard Brickoven Pizza and Pub, he might have another solution, reruns of classic games.
“We do try to promote what games we have currently going,” Biber said. “And the nice thing is because we have 18 TVs throughout our entire place, each one of them capable of showing a different game. We’re able to have every favorite re run, every sort of segment there, playing.”
Still, he expected business to be down around 20 percent this fall.
However, there’s actually hope that the Pac-12 could come back on schedule, sooner rather than later.
Reports this week say the conference will reconsider its postponement after securing an agreement to provide rapid COVID testing for its student athletes.
“That would absolutely be huge,” Biber said.