Rivalry game brings support to Corvallis hotels, restaurants

The Angry Beaver Sports Grill in Corvallis, Oregon, on Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2022.
The Angry Beaver Sports Grill in Corvallis, Oregon, on Tuesday, Jun. 28, 2022.
Jason May

This year’s Rivalry Game is expected to bring fans into bars and hotels in Corvallis, despite the game taking place on Nov. 24 in Eugene. 

This year’s game takes on additional weight, as the recent realignment of the PAC-12 means that it could be the last time the teams face off, which, Christina Rehklau, the executive director of Visit Corvallis said could impact business.

Rekhlau said that moving into a smaller conference means rivals will have less financial backing and will bring less money into Corvallis and surrounding communities. 

“The Civil War (game has) definitely always been a very positive thing for me,” said Greg Little, the owner and operator of Squirrels’ Tavern in downtown Corvallis. “It’s been a rivalry that has gone on for one hundred plus years, and that makes a difference … that has meaning and value.”

“The tradition-steeped atmosphere of the rivalry game is not only positive for fans of both universities but also businesses in Corvallis,” said Rehklau.

Rehklau wrote in an email that last year the average occupancy for Corvallis hotels in November was 53% at a rate of $155 a night. On the weekend of the rivalry game, however, occupancy soared to 69% and room charges to over $200 a night. 

Kane Mosanski, the front desk lead for Hotel Corvallis said that game days in general generate a lot of business.

“As soon as that football schedule gets sent out, we start to sell out right away,” Mosanski said.

According to Rehklau, restaurants also stand to benefit from the tourism that football games bring into the community, including the rivalry game. 

Olivia Kimmel, an employee of TacoVino said that the rivalry game in particular attracts a lot of traveling fans, who increase business in the days leading up to and following the game itself. 

Rehklau said that the benefits of the rivalry game extend beyond the businesses of Corvallis or Eugene to bars and restaurants in Portland or anywhere else where alumni and fans can come together to support their teams. 

With the PAC-12 realignment, businesses may have to accommodate games played in vastly different time zones, said Rekhlau, who joked that bartenders could switch from traditional beer to mimosas for early morning games. 

Joe Withee, the night manager for the downtown branch of American Dream Pizza, offered a more philosophical prediction for what the end of the PAC-12 could mean for businesses in the future.  

“I’m no Nostradamus,” Withee said.  “But I think that the Oregon State alumni who come and watch the games will still come to watch the games. If we’re not playing big-time division teams … are we going to have the same number of people traveling from out of town to come check it out? That’s a question mark.” 

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