Athens has been described as a home away from home for many Bobcat fans. But when they return home, there might be a Court Street away from Court Street greeting them.
Some bars across the state and region allow Ohio sports followers to request Bobcat football or basketball games to be displayed on TVs. Ohio University alumni own some of these establishments, but others recognize the draw of Ohio sports.
“We definitely fly the green flag all the time,” said Jim Cummings, a bartender at the Clevelander Bar & Grill in the titular city.
Owner Patrick McGinty is an OU alumnus and often brings friends to watch football, Cummings said. He described the Clevelander as a neighborhood bar with the best college aura of any Downtown eatery.
“We usually have a pretty good football crowd,” Cummings said. “Saturday, we’ll put on any game that anyone wants to watch.”
But the good news for Ohio fans is that many televised games take place during the middle of the week, when there are few competitors for airtime. That allows
Racine Plumbing Bar & Grill in Chicago to show most football games.
“You guys play a lot of Tuesday and Thursday and Wednesday games, which is great,” owner Chris Owens said. “It just depends if it gets on TV. Anytime you can get on TV, people can get pretty excited.”
Racine Plumbing is a hot spot for Bobcat followers. Katie Arnold heads the Chicago chapter of the Ohio University Alumni Association and has arranged events at the bar.
One Bobcat who has visited Racine Plumbing is baseball coach Joe Carbone, whose daughters live in Chicago. His older daughter, Cristin, is a 2005 OU graduate and is involved in the planning as well.
“When the basketball team played in the NCAA Tournament two years ago, she rented it out and told the guy there would be a lot of people for
the game,” Carbone said. “When they beat Georgetown, the bar couldn’t handle all the OU people.”
Carbone watched Ohio beat New Mexico State in football there Sept. 3 and said he saw many alumni whom he or his daughters recognized.
Cincinnati residents can watch the Bobcats at Rock Bottom Restaurant & Brewery. Some tables have private screens, and the wait staff will tune in a larger set
The main hurdle is the availability of these games. Some road games are shown on a station local to the home team, and games against less reputable opponents might not be televised. The biggest draw for games at the bars are contests against Miami and Marshall.
“The rivalry games tend to bring out a bigger crowd,” Owens said. “Obviously, if they’re doing well, it tends to bring out a bigger crowd.”