By Harry Allison
Penn State and the rest of the Big 10 have called off the fall football season because of the pandemic.
There’s some talk that next spring may see the sport’s return.
“It’s just devastating news,” said Fritz Smith, chief executive of the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau, in State College, a town built around Penn State that swells on game days, temporarily becoming Pennsylvania’s third-largest city.
“I’ll be honest,” he told the Washington Post, “there’s real fear in the community and a real trepidation about how some businesses reliant on the spending of visitors associated with the games are going to get through this. They’ve already had five months of difficult operating environment, and this is kind of yet another leg of the table being kicked out.”
He estimates Penn State football brings in more than $70 million in visitor spending each year. Penn State fans typically spend three nights in hotels, three days shopping at stores, three nights eating out. And this fall they’ll all stay home.
“Hopefully there’s a season in the spring and everything bounces back,” he said. “But it’s going to be a tough fall to even get to that point.”