Slow start to BSU home season hits some local restaurants hard

BOISE, Idaho (KBOI) - The Bronco's home football season is off to a slow start, and some local businesses believe it's having an impact on their sales too.

This year's home opener against Tennessee-Martin drew just over 33,000 Bronco fans to the game, where as last year's home opener against Miami (Ohio) brought in more than 34,000 fans.

The capacity for Bronco stadium is 36,387, meaning there were more than 3,000 empty seats for this year's home opener.

The numbers were a little more promising for the Air Force game, but Boise State is still looking for alternate ways to find fans to fill the seats. The school is turning to social media to help, where fans on Twitter can access a link that has discounted tickets on sale for as low as $10 for one of three Bronco home games. The tickets are located in the north end zone and on some of the curve sections.

But Bronco stadium isn't the only place trying to fill up seats. Some local restaurants and bars said they're seeing fewer people in on game days this year than in years before.

"This year, we've certainly had business, but it's not nearly much as we've had in the past years," Chili's manager Amy Sanford said.

Sanford said usually, football season is "organized chaos" at Chili's. She says there are a number of factors at play, but thinks that their lower sales numbers go hand in hand with those empty seats at the stadium.

"Ticket sales are probably the biggest factor," Sanford said. "When the stadium doesn't fill up, we don't fill up. It kind of affects all the local business around here."

Just across campus, Crickets Bar and Grill said they have felt the pinch too, but that it happened even before this season. Manager Crysta Hernandez said she estimates that over the last two years, they've seen a 35% drop in gameday sales.

"We hang in there, but we squeak, just like everybody else," Hernandez said.

Both local spots said they are hoping for a spike in business, but that no matter what, they'll be there for every Bronco touchdown.

"We love supporting BSU and we love being involved in all the home games," Sanford said.

"Gameday is gameday," Hernandez added. "Monday night football, Thursday night, Sunday...gameday is gameday."