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ND vs Toledo will allow full-capacity, local businesses hope for the same

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 7:40 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) -With Notre Dame’s first home game on Saturday against Toledo, fans will be packing the stands and creating a big boom for local businesses.

There won’t just be plenty of fans in the stands, but plenty of feet making their way to the seats of local bars and restaurants outside of campus.

Businesses owners near campus tell me they’ve missed the Irish Faithful coming in for a drink and a bite to eat, but also grabbing some of that Notre Dame merchandise around the area.

They say they expect business to be much better than last year when game attendance took a hit because of the pandemic. They’re happy to have their loyal customers back.

“Well, we missed them. There’s regulars that come in here from all over the country and last year they didn’t come in. We’ve seen a lot of them come in so far this year, So we’re going to be very, very happy to see them,” Greg Delinski, Owner of The Linebacker Lounge says.

Most importantly, they’re bringing that Fighting Irish energy back to campus, back to the bars, and back to the home of the Blue and Gold.

“We’re excited. We feel like we’ve been kind of working towards this for the last year and a half. So, it’s a good feeling”, Matt Soutra, Vice President of Operations with Navarre Hospitality Group says. That company owns O’Rourke’s Public House. “This year is going to feel a little bit different, I think, than past years just because we didn’t have the opportunity last year,” So I think people are especially excited get out, root for Notre Dame. It’s a beautiful day, I mean, we couldn’t ask for more.”

As usual, Fighting Irish fans have high expectations this year and they’re ready for the first full-capacity game since 2019.

“I think it’s going to be the same everybody is going to have the fighting Irish spirit. I think everybody is going to be excited to be back. I expect just an awful lot of energy and be pretty much like it has been in years past.” Jeffrey Van Wie, Notre Dame class of ‘87 grad says. “Go Irish! Lets go undefeated again.”

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