Return of Husker football a lifeline for some Omaha businesses

Published: Sep. 16, 2020 at 3:30 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Wednesday’s announcement that the Huskers will soon play football was welcomed news in north downtown and the Capitol District.

The pandemic has hit this area especially hard, with COVID-19 responsible for the cancellation of the College World Series and other major sporting events.

Managers at DJ’s Dugout said another such loss would be tough to take.

“With restaurants hurting like we have been, it’s definitely nice to have some kind of draw to get the Huskers fans out and get 'em watching football,” manager Sean Glen said.

DJ’s Dugout has 50 screens, and on game day, it will be all about Nebraska football.

“When the Huskers are playing, we got all the big screens on the game,” he said. “It will have sound — it will be bumping.”

There are some businesses that are built around Husker football, their success wrapped around the team.

“We really didn’t know if we were going to be able to survive, ‘cause we’ve had three losing seasons in a row, and then no football season,” said Scott Strunc of Husker Hounds. “Our sales are down 85% right now from the beginning of the year from last year.”

But with the games back on, Husker fans are already ringing up sales.

“I didn’t know if this season was going to happen, so as soon as I heard, I’m like, ‘Welp, let’s go get some stuff,' " Husker fan Dana Swoboda said. “Everybody wants to watch the game, and people are going to be more appreciative and excited. It’s not even about wins or losses anymore; it’s just about playing the game we all love to watch."

Orsi’s Italian Bakery and Pizzeria is expecting the Huskers to increase take-out business.

“Some of the sit-downs don’t do as well,” said Jim Hall of Orsi’s. “When they play on TV at night, then the pizza places, they start popping. Huskers rule the economy in Nebraska."

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