BID FOR BCS: WARRIORS VS. HUSKIES
Eateries discover TV = TD with fans
TVs fill restaurants on game nights
STORY SUMMARY »
Television broadcasts of Hawaii football games have become as enticing as happy-hour deals at bars and restaurants across the state.
Businesses offering the games on TV are benefiting from the Warriors' undefeated season this year. Those without a TV are out of luck during game time.
But many stores that cater to fans don't need a TV set to profit from the team's popularity.
"It does help our business," said Guy Tamashiro, owner of Tamashiro Market in Kalihi. "True fans, they want to enjoy (games) with good food, lots of poke and pupus."
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RICHARD WALKER / RWALKER@STARBULLETIN.COM
Eastside Grill on University Avenue was packed with University of Hawaii football fans earlier this month when the Warriors played Nevada. Those having a good time included Randy Isokane, left, Jeff Imamura and Marcus O'Connell.
Tonio Natividad's 24-hour restaurant in Aiea, Anna Miller's, had one of its slowest Friday evenings last week. The same night, it was standing room only at East Side Bar & Grill.
The Honolulu bar had 25 TV sets showing the University of Hawaii's sold-out football victory against Boise State for the Western Athletic Conference title. Anna Miller's has no TVs.
Restaurants and bars offering broadcasts of the Warriors games -- the last two free of charge on ESPN -- have benefited from a boost in the team's popularity and following because of its undefeated season so far this year.
"We do have the loyal fans," said East Side Grill owner Robbie Acoba. "The die-hard fans will come here. But it's been increased because of the interest and the curiosity now."
Hawaii's 39-27 win over the Broncos on Friday brought the college its first outright WAC crown and kept its dream of a perfect 12-0 season alive with just one game left.
The team also reached the coveted No. 12 spot in the Bowl Championship Series ranking. If they hold or improve that ranking with a victory Saturday against the University of Washington Huskies, the Warriors are guaranteed entry to one of the top five bowl games in the nation.
"Definitely more people are going to be coming when they are winning. It's an event now, other than just another game to see how they do," said Mike MacLean, manager of Lulu's Restaurant and Bar in Waikiki.
"Before last year, they would just watch the replay the next day, or just read in the paper about what happened," he added, "but now ... everybody knows all the players' names."
Juan Santana, assistant general manager at the Mai Tai Bar at Ala Moana Center, said the bar was full during the Hawaii-Boise game but not as packed as on a regular Friday night. Mai Tai has five TV sets but has not carried pay-per-view games this season, he said.
"We have plans in January to remodel and get satellite TVs," Santana said.
At the upscale Roy's in Hawaii Kai, restaurant President Rainer Kumbroch said business "was a bit lighter than it would be on a Friday." He said employees have been checking game scores by logging onto espn.com to update customers.
"At any-level restaurant, if you don't have a TV, you are at a disadvantage," he said. "But ... the guests that do come in, we keep them informed."
Gov. Linda Lingle, who went to the Boise State game but will miss Saturday's game because of a commitment to attend the Organ Donor Center of Hawaii's 20th anniversary celebration, said she has a "gut feeling" that the team's success might be helping the economy.
"I just think when people feel better about themselves, about their state, they tend to be more willing to invest in it," she said. "I don't mean the big-time investment, but someone who's wondering, 'Should I add an employee or not?' or 'Should I expand my store?' If you feel better generally, you're more likely to do those things."
Even Anna Miller's was busy before and after Friday's 4 p.m. game, Natividad said.
"It started picking up around 8 p.m.," he said. "They came in with their Hawaii shirt. Before they go to the game, they come and eat."
Meanwhile, the Warriors' final season game -- also sold out at 50,000-seat Aloha Stadium -- will create a scheduling conflict for another elected official because it coincides with the Honolulu City Lights parade.
Mayor Mufi Hannemann, who will appear at the Christmas event for a tree lighting ceremony right before the 6:30 p.m. kickoff, will try to make it to the stadium to at least catch the final quarter, said his spokesman, Bill Brennan.
"The mayor's top priority is Honolulu's City Lights. It is and it always has been," Brennan said. "But he is also a huge UH football fan."
Star-Bulletin reporter B.J. Reyes contributed to this report.
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Fan’s stolen camera replaced
CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARBULLETIN.COM
Jay Hanamura, left, whose camera was snatched during Friday's UH football victory celebration over Boise State, happily received a new camera from an anonymous donor yesterday after his story was told by radio host Bob Hogue, right.
BARRY MARKOWITZ / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-BULLETIN
Hanamura was seen with his old camera at the game just moments before it was taken.