A hot start for the Indiana University men’s basketball team is also heating up the local economy. The team has a 15 to 1 record and ranks sixth nationally in this week’s Associated Press poll.
Local business owners say their customers are more excited this season than they have been in the last three years. Nick’s English Hut manager Pete Mikolaitis says big games are bringing in big business. He says on each of the December nights IU pulled off upset wins over Ohio State and Kentucky, his business tripled. The business brought in during away games, he says, is most notable.
“The past couple of years we did not see any increase in business, but now with the team winning the way it is, even with away games, we’ll fill up and do some good business where in past years we didn’t,” Mikolaitis says.
IU sophomore Jackie Conley says the Hoosiers are representing the school and the community well. In fact, as she prepared for classes today, she also spent a little extra.
“I was supposed to be buying books, but I got a new IU vest and a couple of long sleeve t-shirts since it’s going to get cold,” she says. “That way I can wear them to all of the games and everything. I think that now that we’re winning a lot of people want to rep IU a little bit more.”
If the IU men’s success continues, retail and restaurant owners could ride the wave through March, the month of the NCAA basketball championship tournament. The Hoosiers’ next game is Thursday in Bloomington.