ESPN’s College GameDay is coming to town and with it, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Police Department, so are 15,000 extra people.The popular pregame show travels from university to university providing commentary about the particular game they are covering. This Saturday morning, they are scheduled to broadcast in Lincoln before the Huskers take on the Ohio State Buckeyes later that night.
By the time everyone has arrived and settled in, this moderately populated midwest city may feel a bit more like Chicago or New York.
With this in mind, many local businesses are preparing to accommodate the expected masses in a multitude of ways.
Popular nightlife hangouts like Barry’s Bar and Grill and HopCat are gearing up to adequately serve the masses.
According to Barry’s general manager KC Iverson, the popular bar on 9th and Q streets has been planning for College GameDay since January of this year. Over the course of the last few months, the staff has solidified everything from the logistics of customer service to hours of operation.
“We are just making sure that we have enough staff and an adequate number of bartenders,” Iverson said. “We’re also opening at 7 a.m., which normally we wouldn’t do, but because we know that people would be out and about we’re opening early.”
Barry’s isn’t the only local establishment gearing up for the all-day rampage expected on Saturday. Local pub HopCat has also planned in advance for the influx of possible patrons. However, HopCat doesn’t plan on changing hours or adding special events. For them, it will be business as usual — just with a higher number of patrons. While they plan to bring on more staff, General Manager Casey Johnson said that it is going to be just another gameday for the most part.
“Basically we have just staffed up to make sure that we are ready,” Johnson said. “Obviously the crowd for a normal [7 p.m.] game wouldn’t be as early, so we are backing earlier, but for the most part, we are just making sure that we have the people here.”
While it is important for nightlife and entertainment spots to plan for the scores of football fans expected to arrive, UNLPD has also taken into account the logistics of the exciting event. UNLPD Security Operations Captain Aaron Pembleton said that while there will be more man power present, the event is expected to go off without a hitch.
“We are just making sure that we are working with our partners, [Lincoln Police Department] and the athletic counterparts to make sure everything is secure,” Pembleton said. “There’s no extra concerns for us. It’s just like having a three gameday event, a bunch of people come to campus and stay for a few hours but then they leave campus.”
With this in mind, Pembleton does request that patrons be mindful of the crowd and parking situations.
“The biggest thing for people to understand is that there isn’t a lot of public parking in the vicinity of where the show is going to be,” Pembleton said. “Give yourself plenty of time and be mindful of the weather, as well as parking.”
With precautions taken by not only the police department but also local businesses, College GameDay should be an enjoyable and safe experience for all who attend.