Tiger Loss Could Mean Fewer Dollars For Downtown Businesses

U of M Tigers Memphis

(Memphis) Along historic Beale Street, there’s always the sound of blues music and for the next few days the sound of trash talking basketball fans.

They’re here to see their teams play in American Athletic Association Tournament at FedExForum.

“Go UConn, Go UConn. Go Cards, Go Cards. What time does Memphis play?laughter,” Unidentified fans shouted.

But what will be missing are hundreds of Memphis Tiger fans on Beale after the team’s deflating home loss to UConn.

Leo Allred owns Tater Red’s Lucky Mojos on Beale, “I hate to see the Tigers go because this city lives and breathes basketball and when the Tigers are doing well, the city is doing great.”

Many downtown businesses were banking on the Tigers playing longer in the tournament to attract out-of-town fans and more Memphians into their nightclubs and restaurants.

Michaeloh is the doorman at Flinn’s barbeque, “I think it will affect it because we(Memphis tigers) are not in the tournament and we might get a little less or more, but with Louisville close and a couple of weeks ago we got a lot of Louisville fans here.”

As many as 15,000 fans were expected possibly generating $15 million for the local economy.

Ty Agee is the president of the Beale Street Merchants Association.

He was out-of-town, but told WREG by phone he’s optimistic business will rebound, “I feel the fans who are here have already paid to stay and are in their rooms and will be through Sunday. So, I would believe it’s still going to be a huge impact on the city economy.”

Even though the Tigers are done in the AAC tournament, fans such as “Dancing George” on Beale are still ready to put on their shoes in hopes of being invited to the Big Dance, the NCAA Basketball Tournament.

The NCAA Selection Show is this Sunday at five o’clock only CBS and WREG.



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