COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Buckeye fans are celebrating the return of football game day traditions. Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith recently announced the university is planning for full capacity at Ohio Stadium. Fans can also expect pre-game activities and tailgating this fall.
“Buckeye football, specifically, kind of dictates how the weekend’s going to go for undergraduates here,” said Selvan Manthriam, a 2018 Ohio State grad and self-described hardcore Buckeye fan.
Ohio State senior Emilly Czyzewski added, “I’m really excited because I can actually live out my senior year instead of just sitting at home.”
In 2020, the pandemic delayed the start of the OSU football season and barred fans from attending home games. The Spring Game allowed a limited number of spectators in 2021.
“They were kind of in mourning, almost, that they couldn’t attend these games,” said Kelly Dawes. “Buckeye Nation is going to be really excited to see everything’s back to normal.”
Dawes owns College Traditions, an OSU merchandise shop adjacent to St. John Arena. She said the store relied mostly on online sales last year and sales dipped by more than 40 percent in the fall and holiday seasons.
“Fall and football season is our bread and butter. It’s when we make hay. It’s when we make the sales and that’s what keeps us going throughout the year,” she said.
Dawes expects the return of tailgating to pump revenue back into the business and revitalize the campus area.
“With us being at full capacity now, we’ll have the tailgaters and we’ll just have everybody down here,” she said.
The Buckeyes face Oregon in their first home game on September 11. Kickoff is at noon.
The team will travel to Minnesota for the first game of the season on September 4.