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Toledo news, weather, traffic and sports | Toledo, Ohio, | wtol.com

Local sports store and bar owners react to Big Ten's return and what it means for their businesses

Many area bars saw an increase in profit for the first NFL Sunday of the year and sports stores are looking forward to fans getting outfitted for the new season.

SYLVANIA, Ohio — It's not just the fans, players and programs that are excited for the return of Big Ten football.

Bar owners are excited for the return, too.

“We have the new patio bar we just opened that has two large TV's out there, so if people feel more comfortable being outside they can watch the game out there,” said Jeremy Fitzgerald, owner of the V.I. in Sylvania.

The V.I. opened for the first time in May and has seen a number of customers taking advantage of their patio to watch sporting events.

With tickets for games being incredibly limited, if available at all, area bar owners are expecting people to turn to their establishments for their fix.

“I’m excited! I mean anything to give some people something to do, people are looking forward to it anything to help business,” said Brandon Saba, owner of Bar 145.

Both Fitzgerald and Mason said their sales increased by nearly 50% for the first NFL Sunday of the year and are hoping the Big 10 will bring similar profits.

Bar owners are not the only ones expecting a boom in business. 

Chris Mason owns the Buckeye Wolverine Shop and has not had as many customers come in for football gear this season. Mason is hoping that when games come back, so too will the customers.

“We've got people trickling in, but you know, it's unbelievable how depressed everyone is. So I'm sure we'll get a big push out of this,” said Mason.

New attire is ordered every year at the start of the year, so much of the brand new gear in store has been sitting on the shelves for months.

Mason hopes the return will help see some of that gear find new homes with happy customers. “We've had products showing up, new shirts, new ladies things, new different items... So hopefully now we will get some customers in the door, excited about the season!”