Lexington business owners anticipate impact of football season on earnings

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

“The excitement of people walking into the store is just excited about the season, excited about the team, excited about the sport 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 many cases people haven’t bought a British shirt for two years. They are therefore very excited to be leaving, to be at the match and to wear a new jersey. They won’t take the old one out of the closet because they want to wear a new one. They haven’t done it for a few years, ”Kawaja said.

Kawaja says they have their biggest clothing and equipment sales in the UK on match day weekends. Since fans weren’t filling the stadium or even following last year, they missed out on an entire sales season.

“Lucky for us, we are selling a lot of state pride and different brands that have helped us through this time,” Kawaja said.

But the latest news from SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey could spell bad news for businesses and restaurants that thrive on game day. If 80% of the team is not vaccinated and there is an outbreak of COVID-19, they will have to forfeit. Matches will not be postponed or rescheduled.

“Missing games would affect us because our football Fridays and game days are important. So it would affect us. It wouldn’t necessarily bankrupt us, ”Kawaja said.

Kawaja has said it will reduce sales, but they are trying to stay optimistic going into the season.

“We store a lot of time. We’re ready for fans to come in, get excited, and get some wins. And keep that momentum going until 2022, ”Kawaja said.

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