Boycott of KU-MU game urged

Bar owners protest loss of revenue from moving match to K.C.

Stay at home and party.

That’s what a pair of downtown Lawrence business owners will be trying to convince Lawrence residents to do on Nov. 24, rather than travel to the Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., to watch Kansas University’s “home” football game against Missouri.

Jerry and Sue Neverve – owners of downtown’s Red Lyon Tavern – are working on a protest and a promotion that would allow KU fans to show their unused game ticket on Nov. 24 to Lawrence restaurants and retailers to receive special discounts on food and goods.

“We thought that would, hopefully, make a point to the athletic department and maybe result in some changes for the future,” Sue Neverve said.

This season marks the first of a two-year experiment by KU and MU to conduct the arch-rivalry game in Kansas City, Mo.

Jim Marchiony, associate athletic director at KU, said it would be unfortunate if KU fans didn’t turn out at Arrowhead.

“The team deserves the support,” Marchiony said.

But the Neverves say the community deserves the support, too. Several retailers have opposed moving the Nov. 24 game – which is the Saturday after Thanksgiving – because it will encourage people to leave town on what is traditionally one of the biggest shopping days of the year.

“KU is always asking for our support, whether it be through the Williams Fund or ticket purchase or something else, and then this is what happens,” said Jerry Neverve, who has been a football season ticket holder for the past 14 years.

Marchiony, though, said the game should help the KU football program, and that, ultimately, will help the entire community. He also said he’s not convinced Lawrence businesses are going to lose out on sales because the game has been moved.

“I think that money will be spent in Lawrence, whether it is before the game, after the game or on another day in Lawrence,” Marchiony said. “It is very premature to predict economic doom and gloom because of one game being moved out of Lawrence.”

The Neverves aren’t buying what Marchiony says. Sue Neverve said during the next two weeks, she will begin signing up restaurants and other businesses that are interested in offering a discount in return for showing an unused game ticket. She also said she’ll be encouraging businesses to offer tailgate parties for fans to come and watch the game, which could be on TV. She’s talking with owners of property near Memorial Stadium that traditionally provide parking and tailgating space for KU fans. She wants those properties to encourage fans to come tailgate despite the game being in Kansas City.

Sue Neverve said she plans to pass out fliers around Memorial Stadium at today’s game to alert fans of the promotion.