LUBBOCK, Texas— The fall college athletics season is back with Texas Tech soccer and volleyball already underway.

This Saturday, the bright lights at Jones AT&T Stadium will be on and students and fans will pile in. 

On Wednesday, Red Raider fans took down Oklahoma University fans in a FOX College Football Twitter Poll for best fanbase.

Senior Associate Athletics Director, Robert Giovannetti, describes the return of Tech Athletics as an economic engine – fueling the businesses around town as well as hiring nearly 1,000 people to work game days.

“The Lubbock community thrives with Texas Tech being here,” Giovannetti said. “Athletics is a way to bring us all together. I know it’s great for the community, obviously, when you look at the impact on restaurants, hotels, just various businesses, not only around campus, but all across town.”

Giovannetti said the football stadium hasn’t been as crowded the past few years, but he’s hopeful that 2022 will bring packed houses at all games.

“We think that the fans and the community are really ready to get back to normal, and getting ready for football being a part of their routine in the fall,” Giovannetti said.

John Osborne is the president and CEO of the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance. He said the combination of students and college athletics returning have a big impact on the local economy.

“You’ve got people that are spending the night, going to the games, they’re eating out or shopping, and that all generates a tremendous amount of impact to our community,” Osborne said. “Not just to our hoteliers and restaurants, but also just in the generation of property tax and sales tax.”

Osborne said with fans constantly excited about the season kicking off, the local economy will only continue to soar.

“They get together for parties, they get together to tailgate, they go out to eat before the events take place, they go out to eat after the events,” Osborne said. “All of that excitement generates a lot of sales as well, which then also contributes to the impact of these events.”