LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KARK) – The No. 18 Razorback men’s basketball team upset No. 6 Kentucky on Saturday, adding another big win to an impressive midseason streak. The race is a boost for Arkansas’ economy, economists and marketers say.
Steve Jenkins owns Hogman’s Gameday Superstore, which has three locations in the state. Although the location is popular in Fayetteville, the success of the basketball team has also resulted in increased customer numbers for the Little Rock and North Little Rock locations.
“The Muss Bus is good,” Jenkins said. “People are big on basketball. Basketball has always been good in Arkansas, but it’s back.
When the Razorbacks are successful in football, basketball, or baseball, the state sees a ripple effect on the economy. Jeff Cooperstein, an economist at the University of Arkansas, said the restaurant and merchandise industries are seeing increases across the state. Northwest Arkansas has an added travel advantage.
“You help all hotels,” Cooperstein said. “You help all the restaurants, all the people who work in the restaurants.”
Jenkins said supply chain issues have persisted for months now and he ordered most of the basketball-related gear more than a year ago. Baseball fans still can’t find special items easily because they haven’t arrived from their overseas trip.
“Nike has the license for the hat and jersey,” Jenkins said. “If you look around, they’re not there yet.”
Still, the Hogs’ basketball success has meant money changing hands. Jenkins said he expects a spike in sales to begin next week.