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Minn.’s Losing Teams Hurt Businesses’ Bottom Lines

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(credit: CBS) John Lauritsen
John Lauritsen is a reporter from Montevideo, Minn. He joined WCCO-...
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MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Minnesota sports fans are likely tired of the old saying “we’ll get ‘em next year.”

The Twins have the second-worst record in baseball and the Vikings have yet to win a game this season. Even with the Lynx advancing to the WNBA finals, some downtown businesses are feeling the pinch as the losses add up.

Taking A Hit Due To The Hometown Team

After winning the division a year ago, the Twins are going to finish about 30 games out this year, and they won’t be the only ones left shaking their heads.
“We’re feeling it. It hurts,” said Tom Clifford, general manager of Smalley’s 97 Club. “There’s definitely not the same buzz as there was last year and we notice it on our bottom line.”

Business is down 15 percent from this time last year at Smalley’s. Once the Twins were officially eliminated, they had to cut back on staff.

“The crowds started showing up later, leaving earlier. They are not coming in after or before the game,” Clifford said.

Across the street at Hubert’s, business was up about 10 percent through August. But a non-contender has turned September into a different story.

“They still stop in. We still get busier after the games, but maybe not the same volume that we did during a playoff rush,” said manager Ryan Nelson.

The Twins aren’t alone in their limbo of losses; the Vikings are winless, and the Timberwolves may not even have season due to the NBA Lockout. Besides, last year they finished with the worst record in the NBA.

The Joy Of The Game

Still, some Minnesota sports fans simply find the game itself worth the price of a ticket and, perhaps, that of a meal, beer or hotel.

“I bought a 20-game package a couple years ago. There are tickets left to use so we are coming to the game no matter what. I love the stadium, I love the team, so I will keep coming,” said Jason Schuder, who drove 150 miles to watch Monday’s Twins game.

Some businesses, like the Graves 601 Hotel, said the Minnesota sports losses haven’t affected their business. A Graves 601 Hotel spokesperson said fans from the Dakotas and Iowa are still coming to Twins games, because they want to see Target Field.

The Vikings are 0-3 and currently alone in last place. Business has been good for the first two home games, and it’s anticipated that will continue no matter what happens with the team. However, a team spokesperson said the team still has tickets available for the remaining six home games.

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