FC Cincinnati already boosting local businesses

Posted at 4:34 PM, Apr 18, 2016
and last updated 2016-04-19 14:24:45-04

CINCINNATI — After just two home games, Cincinnati’s newest professional sports franchise has already drawn tens of thousands of fans, and nearby business owners say they are already feeling the benefits.

FC Cincinnati, part of the United Soccer League, played its second home game at University of Cincinnati’s newly renovated Nippert Stadium, and Ryan Shewmaker, general manager of the nearby Clifton Heights Keystone Bar & Grill, said he has noticed an increase in customers at his restaurant.

“Everyone’s loving it,” he told WCPO. “(It’s been) very, very busy early on, late hours after the game, great clientele.”

FC Cincinnati President and General Manager, Jeff Berding, said he’s not surprised local businesses are benefiting, but he was surprised by how quickly the team became as popular as it did, calling the team “another jewel to crown of the Queen City.”

“For soccer, they’re going to go into the pubs and and restaurants around the stadium,” Berding said. “It’s a big part of it, the economic impact should be tremendous.

“We’re proving to the rest of the country that Cincinnati is a great soccer town.”

USL teams average about 3,000 fans per game, a figure dwarfed by FC Cincinnati’s attendance numbers: The club’s first home game saw 14,658 in the stands and Saturday’s second game against Louisville City set a league record, with 20,497.