- Associated Press - Sunday, October 23, 2016

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Business owners in West Lafayette said they’ve felt the impact of Purdue University’s tumultuous football season.

Purdue fired Coach Darrell Hazell midway through his fourth season on Monday, ending his tenure with the worst winning percentage of any coach at the university in nearly a century, the Lafayette Journal & Courier (https://on.jconline.com/2dONlf9) reported.

Local merchandisers that rely on school spirit to sell Purdue University-branded items have possibly been hit the hardest.

Chauncey Hill Mall’s University Spirit store employee Rhyannon Barrett said business has been declining since about 2014. Profits are down between $10,000 and $20,000 each year, she said.

“We definitely get less business in the store when Purdue doesn’t do well - not just football, any sport,” Barrett said.

Despite declines for local stores selling Purdue products, overall profits from licensing fees are not down, according to Purdue’s Office of Marketing and Media’s Mary King. Royalties are up almost 10 percent.

Local restaurant and bar owners said business has remained steady throughout the season, although Purdue’s falling fortune caused a shift in clientele.

“If Purdue loses, we’ll see a more of the opposing team. You lose and you don’t really want to dwell on it and stick around. If you win, you want to celebrate,” said Matt Rose, a partner at West Lafayette’s Nine Irish Brothers bar.

Purdue athletics spokesman Tom Schott said more than 19,500 season tickets were sold as of Sept. 26. There are 56,000 seats in the Ross-Ade Stadium.

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Information from: Journal and Courier, https://www.jconline.com


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