Notre Dame wins football game; fans spend big in Colorado Springs

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Notre Dame (ND) left town with a perfect record following Saturday’s game at the Air Force Academy, but many area retailers are happy about what thousands of ND fans left behind.

For many area merchants, the game brought extra revenue in a year when extra business is needed. Hoteliers, retailers and others generally suffered from a slow year due to fires, drought, recession and thousands of layoffs in the past 18 months.

The obvious benefactors of the perhaps 10,000 or so visitors who came for the game are hotels, restaurants, and car rental agencies. However, bars, bookstores and others shared in the mini-bounty.

For example, Jack Quinn’s Irish Ale House and Pub, unofficially dubbed Irish headquarters before last week’s big game, which Notre Dame won 21-14.

“We had people packed in here Friday and Saturday,” said Daniel Stone, an employee at Jack Quinn’s. The pub’s rated capacity is about 400, Stone said, adding he has no doubt the numbers exceeded that at times Friday and Saturday night. “We were very busy,” Stone continued.

Owner John Tutko said the numbers didn’t exceed the crowds from the weekend firefighters from around the nation came to Colorado Springs to dedicate the Firefighter’s Memorial, but the crowds were “decent.”

The game was a sellout – and a record setter. Officials pegged attendance at 56,409. Another sellout was the makeshift Notre Dame Varsity Shop.

The bookstore brought a load of ND sweaters, shirts, jackets, footballs and bobble-head dolls, and set up shop at the Antlers Adam’s Mark Hotel, and later at the Air Force Academy.

Colorado Springs attorney Paul W. Hurcomb, who graduated from ND’s law school in 1994, served as local liaison for the Notre Dame bookstore.

“We sold out pretty much everything but a few shirts and hats Friday at the hotel,” said Hurcomb, an attorney at Sparks, Willson Borges, Brandt & Johnson. “What was left was sold at the Academy.”

“It was a huge success,” Hurcomb said of bookstore sale. “They (store manager) left with about $25,000 in sales.”

By the way, said Hurcomb, there are many Irish fans in Colorado Springs.

Some area hotels and motels were also sold out. The Wyndham Hotel near the Air Force Academy, which hosted Notre Dame players and staff, was sold out.

So was The Broadmoor. The Broadmoor has 700 rooms.

The Greater Colorado Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau estimates out-of-town visitors spend about $115 per person per day. Based on 10,000 visitors for two days, the estimated total is $2.3 million in revenue.

The revenue blip could turn up when sales tax figures are released for the month.