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Local businesses hoping for return of U.S. Olympic Trials to Omaha

The U.S. Olympic Swim Trials is coming to an end in Omaha as the College World Series ramps up.
Updated: Jun. 20, 2021 at 10:13 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - The U.S. Olympic Swim Trials has come to an end in Omaha just as the College World Series ramps up. Both events drove customers into local businesses that are hoping this isn’t the final year of this blockbuster duo.

“We’re just so excited that this is what the future is and we’re just excited to get back to a little bit of normalcy,” said Krisy Byers, Manager and Marketing Director, Addy’s Sports Bar and Grill. noting she hopes to see the swim trials return in 2024.

“Having one less event in Omaha is a bit of a devastation to restaurants.”

The 2016 swim trials had an estimated $75 million impact on the city according to Omaha’s visitor’s bureau. And while this year’s number aren’t yet in, businesses like what they’re seeing.

“It was just cool to see everyone coming out finally kind of recovery from the last year, year-and-a-half that we’ve had,” said Nathaniel Wallace, Manager Moe & Curly’s Pub, noting more people walking the streets means more people sitting in their seats. “Overall, business wise there’s just some much foot traffic.”

A lot of that foot traffic ends up at the Bob Kerrey Pedestrian Bridge where vendors are busy taking orders.

“Tons of people are coming from out of state and they’re the people buying,” said Sergio Mata, owner, Sabroso Verano, noting the record-breaking heat is only adding to business. “It’s been a hundred degrees some days and that means people are stopping for something cold.”

Customers are also flocking into air-conditioned businesses like Moe & Curly’s Pub, where they said the loss of the swim trials would be a big blow.

“Honestly, I think it kill this area a little bit just on the sole fact that this is big time of year for us,” said Wallace. “If we can get the College World Series and the swim trials at the same time that’s a huge deal.”

Omaha is the only city to host the U.S. Olympic Swim Trial four times in a row. It’s one of four finalists vying for the 2024 trials. The winner of the bid is expected to be announced sometime after the Tokyo Games.

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