MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – The Morgantown community is preparing for the third West Virginia University (WVU) home football game in three weeks this weekend. President and CEO of Visit Mountaineer Country CVB Susan Riddle said the first two games were a huge success for the community and very welcomed by the area hospitality industry.
“There’s no rest for the weary when we’ve got three back-to-back games,” Riddle said. “I’m going to be sending a lot of “thank yous,” and we may have some mindful meetings, but this is a great opportunity, but it may kill us in the process.”
During the Duquesne weekend, Sept. 9 area hotels were booked to about 76 percent capacity, generating more than $620,000. The following weekend, for the backyard brawl, those numbers jumped to an occupancy rate of about 90 percent and an economic impact of more than $1.5 million for the two-day period.
Riddle explained that those visitors are also making purchases at local stores, buying gas and food, and spending money at local attractions.
“Seeing the boom from such activity early in the season while the weather is good and having the success we’re having actually ends up drawing more interest as we move into the season,” Riddle said.
Riddle said it has also been a busy month for the Mountaineer Country Ambassador team. The all-volunteer group does everything from giving directions and answering questions to helping fans with disabilities get in and out of the venue.
“It’s very rewarding; you get to see a lot of people,” Riddle said. “It is a lot of fun; there are long days, so we’re always looking for new individuals who might want to participate.”
Riddle said hospitality is a small part of the preparation by the community. She said they are required to coordinate their efforts with those of law enforcement and other support groups to make sure visitors see the best Morgantown possible.
“Fire and safety, the county, police, everybody—it really takes mass coordination for us to be able to pull off what we’re able to host in Mountaineer Country,” Riddle said.
Fans should plan their route to the stadium and allow plenty of time for traffic when arriving and departing. In the stadium, Riddle urges people to be responsible and courteous.
“People need to plan accordingly, leave early, drink lots of water, celebrate, and pace themselves,” Riddle said.