Fans flood Madison for first Badger Saturday

Fans flooded downtown streets and bars in Madison for the first home Badger Saturday – but with less of a nail-biting season ahead, downtown businesses may see fewer customers.

Saturday, that wasn’t the case. Lucky’s Bar and Grill on Regent Street saw a steady flow of fans throughout the day – something owner Rod Ripley chalks up to the weather.

“For Badger home games, it’s more about the weather and the temperatures,” he says.

Union South was also packed with families and fans, watching the game both outside and inside. Wisconsin Union spokesperson Marc Kennedy says there never seems to be a slow-down on the season home opener, regardless of who the Badgers play.

“It’s the first game, people want to come out,” he says. “Maybe later in the season, they’ll trade their tickets for a lesser opponent.”

Between the beer and the brat sales, seven home football games can make or break a business here on campus – and a less-than-exciting season opener might set the tone for what’s to come.

But even with a watered-down schedule, business owners say they’re not too worried.

“Nebraska travels pretty well, so that’ll be a great game for us, Minnesota travels pretty well, so I think in the long run the east-west schedule works well for us,” Ripley says.

No matter who’s on the field at Camp Randall this season, Badgers fans say they’ll turn out in true Wisconsin fashion.

“We’ll still go out every time to watch them for sure,” says fan Mitch Denure.