Busy Athletics Week a Boost for Local Economy
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (Nov. 16, 2010) – Nearly 700 student athletes are expected to converge on the University of Central Missouri this week, not only providing plenty of exciting action for sports enthusiasts, but a significant boost for the local economy. Extra motel guests, a surge in the local dining industry, and more customers at area retail establishments are projected benefits for Warrensburg and surrounding communities during a busy week focused on post-season athletics.
“Obviously, this is all due to the success of our student athletes and coaches, and the unbelievable seasons they’ve had,” said Jerry Hughes, university director of Intercollegiate Athletics. He added that the degree of activity planned for this weekend comes with the most successful fall season in UCM athletics history.
In addition to hundreds of athletes coming into the community for football, volleyball and cross country post-season events Thursday through Saturday, these activities will bring thousands of Mules and Jennies fans to campus, as well as athletic supporters for teams across the country. It will even mean an opportunity for media exposure, as well, with sports reporters from news outlets across the state and region visiting UCM, including a television crew from KAMR-TV in Amarillo, TX.
Suzy Latare, visitors center coordinator for the Greater Warrensburg Area Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center, said the chamber is encouraging local businesses to show their UCM spirit by displaying red and black flags on Friday and encouraging employees to wear UCM colors. The chamber is asking businesses to consider using their electronic marquees to both welcome visitors to the community and encourage Mules
and Jennies victories. The chamber is also setting up welcome tables at local motels for visiting teams that may want information about the community. Some teams are expected to stay in Sedalia due to a large demand for rooms locally.
“We are thrilled to have so many people coming to Warrensburg,” Latare said. “This will give us an opportunity to show off our community, but it will also help our town economically.”
According to Shawn Jones, associate director of Intercollegiate Athletics, External Operations, KAMR-TV will be in Warrensburg at 1 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 20 to cover the No. 4 seeded Mules football (9-2 overall and 8-1 in the MIAA) against fifth-seeded West Texas A&M Buffaloes (8-3 overall, 8-2 in the Lone Star Conference). UCM’s public broadcasting station, KMOS-TV Channel 6, will carry the live feed into about 800,000 households around Missouri. Don Peterson, UCM’s director of broadcasting services, said this will be an opportunity to showcase the university in other ways beyond athletics with spots produced by KMOS-TV that will air during game breaks. The game will be aired on UCM’s public radio station KTBG 90.9 FM The Bridge, on local radio stations KOKO 1450 AM and KWKJ 98.5 FM, and with audio available online at the UCM Athletics web site.
The game, marking the first round of NCAA Division II playoffs, takes place at Audrey J. Walton Stadium. It is the same location where the Mules set the MIAA home single-game attendance record Nov. 6 with more than 13,000 fans watching UCM vs. Northwest Missouri State University. This is the second time the Mules have participated in a playoff game, and the first time the team has hosted a football playoff.
Exciting volleyball action will precede the football game. The UCM Jennies are the host and No. 1 seed for the NCAA Division II South Central Region Volleyball Tournament. The Jennies will take on No. 8-seeded St. Mary’s from Texas beginning at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 18 in the Multipurpose Building. If the Jennies win, they would play again at 7:30 p.m. Friday, with the championship game set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday.
Saturday morning, UCM fans will have the opportunity to see the Mules cross country team in the NCAA II South-Central Regional Meet at 10:30 a.m. at Keth Memorial Golf Course, Pertle Springs, followed by Jennies cross country at 11:30 a.m. at the same location.
UCM Athletics hopes to ensure as many Central Missouri students as possible can attend NCAA post-season events. Although students are usually admitted free of charge to campus sporting events, tickets must be purchased for NCAA games. Therefore, UCM Athletics is seeking local area businesses and individuals who are willing to donate tickets specifically for UCM students. The tickets are $3 per session. If area businesses or individuals want to purchase tickets for students, they are urged to contact UCM Athletics development officer Michelle Schubert at 660-543-8396.
While the focus of this week is on post-season events, UCM fans have additional opportunities this week to catch two of their favorite teams in action. Contributing to the total number of student athletes on campus will be basketball games featuring the Mules and Jennies. The Mules (1-1) will open their home schedule Wednesday evening hosting Fontbonne at 8 p.m., a change from the original start time of 7:30 p.m. to accommodate practice times for the NCAA-II regional volleyball teams. The Jennies will tip-off their home schedule this Wednesday evening hosting Lindenwood-Belleville at 6 p.m. The Mules also will host Graceland in a non-conference game that was re-scheduled from the original date of Nov. 20, due to NCAA-II volleyball and football post-season events, and the Jennies scheduled home game against Evangel Saturday also has been moved to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 23.