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Basketball Means Big Business

IOWA CITY, IA (CBS2/FOX28) -- With the Hawkeyes sold out for the rest of the season, there's a lot of traffic in downtown Iowa city on gameday.


But there is a bright side.


Better basketball means more fans going to games and a little extra green in the pockets of local business owners. They say when there's a good Hawkeye team, people are just more aware. They know when there's a game, they spend money to watch the games and buy clothing and jerseys and that helps everybody


When basketball is hot in Carver-Hawkeye Arena, that's hardly the only place that gets crowded.


"Even in the beginning of the season, we saw a significant pick up during game days as the season went on," said the owner of Backpocket Brewery Jacob Simmons.


"It really creates a robust community and high quality of life all around the Iowa City area," said Vice President of Communications at the Iowa City Area Chamber of Commerce Melissa McCarville.


Even all the way out in Coralville, Simmons says he can count on seeing more people when there's a game


"We're not a sports bar by any stretch of the imagination and we certainly get a crowd for that as well," said Simmons.


That's just on game day.


Suburban Hotel General Manager Ottis Bunning says a successful Hawkeye team makes for successful gameday weekends.


"It used to be a lot of in town or people around the area and now its people traveling from out of the area, Des Moines or even farther and people making a day or night out of it," said Bunning.


And people from out of town need hotel rooms.


But the effects also last after the final buzzer sounds and all those fans go home.


For Backpocket Brewery, they can create loyal customers who don't live nearby.

They say most of the beer they brew isn't consumed in the building.


"The vast majority of it gets shipped off site to other bars, grocery stores all across Iowa," said Simmons.


That means building brand recognition, even just from a drink before tipoff, can go a long way.


Business owners say the one thing that can really get in the way of a good season is bad weather. They say no amount of enthusiasm about basketball can thaw out a negative 10 degree wind chill.


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