WICHITA, Kan. (KSNW) – The vibe on Wichita State’s campus, and across the city was a positive one on Friday. The news of Wichita State joining the American Athletic Conference as the 12th member was welcomed by many, not only because this is a step up athletically and academically, but it will bring more money to Wichita.
“I am so proud. Go Shox,” yelled Reagen Thorpe, a junior at WSU.
Thorpe says the advantages this move will have on her school is impressive, but the city of Wichita will benefit as well.
“I think this is just another step in the direction that Wichita is heading. I mean we’re already growing in such leaps and bounds, so I think this is just another step in the right direction,” explained Thorpe.
Shocker alum, Ken Merry agrees, saying that businesses would feel the benefit.
“I think it’s a big step up. I think it would give us a big economic boost. It gives us much more visibility than we’ve had in the past. I think it’s all pluses,” stated Merry.
With Wichita State facing bigger teams like University of Connecticut, University of Houston, and Southern Methodist University, thousands of more people are expected to show up to games, meaning more money put into the Wichita economy.
“It will boost the economy,” stated Lou Heldman, VP of Strategic Communications for WSU. “We’re looking forward to welcoming thousands of people to Wichita.”
For 15 months, the university has been working hard to make this transition, and though sports is the obvious winner in this, bringing more money and visitors to the city was a priority for school officials.
“We see this as helping Wichita become a destination and maybe people that hadn’t thought about coming to Wichita before will come,” said Heldman.