The Kansas Jayhawks men’s basketball team travels to Manhattan Monday night to take on the Kansas State Wildcats in the second game of the 2016-17 Sunflower Showdown. And while tonight’s game will surely have an impact in the Big 12 standings, it also may have a greater impact for local businesses in Lawrence.
“It’s by far still the biggest rivalry we have in the Big 12,” Brett Guthery, general manager of Jock’s Nitch, said. “People may say it’s not a rivalry but it definitely is.”
And with heated rivalries come passionate fans looking to show pride for their school. Many fans look to go out to watch the big game with friends and family at local restaurants and bars.
“When we have KU and K-State in both football and basketball, it has a pretty big draw,” Leo Budy, general manager of Quinton’s Bar and Deli Leo, said. “There’s a huge influx of people who like to go out, have a good time, and just hang out with other fans.”
Rivalries like the Sunflower Showdown do more than provide fans with entertainment–they help develop the city’s economy.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor and Statistics indicated during months when KU athletic programs weren’t playing, unemployment rate stood around 4.3 percent. During last November and December, when football and basketball were in-season, the unemployment rate in Lawrence fell to 3.2 percent.
“There’s multiple stores in town that provide only KU apparel and merchandise,” Guthery said. “If KU wasn’t here, none of us would have jobs.”