“When Michigan’s winning, we get calls from the stadium placing orders,” said Pam Pietryga, co-owner of Pizza Bob’s.

On football weekends, Pietryga says, business at her State Street pizza and sub shop starts picking up on Fridays, with orders delivered to RVs parked at Pioneer High School and elsewhere. On game day itself, Pizza Bob’s schedules all twenty of its student employees–compared to a normal weekend shift of six.

A 2007 report by the Anderson Economic Group estimated that U-M football contributes well over $100 million a year to the Ann Arbor area economy. That’s almost $12 million worth of tickets, food, lodging, and shopping per game.

“A good amount of money is dropped in Ann Arbor,” says Sarah Okuyama, innkeeper at Burnt Toast Inn, a bed and breakfast with two locations near downtown. She sells out most game weekends, often to older alumni who want to savor Ann Arbor again. And her guests buy more than Michigan memorabilia: “Fans go to art galleries and shopping,” says Okuyama. “Football has a powerful impact on the city.”

At Bivouac on State Street, parents of current students sometimes come in before the game to pick up raincoats or winter wear for their kids, says owner Ed Davidson. “People are in a good mood–they’re on vacation and they have time to shop.” Most sales come before the game, but Bivouac is busy all weekend.

Yet other business owners say that Michigan football isn’t giving them the boost it once did–partly because the team is not as strong as it used to be, and partly because the economy is so much weaker.

“It’s not quite as easy to fill up,” says James Koen, general manager of the 197-room Four Points by Sheraton near Briarwood. Koen says his customers are more budget conscious and likely to shop around–so the hotel has actually lowered rates on some rooms during football weekends.

A football weekend is no longer “a guaranteed sellout,” agrees Weber’s Inn general manager John Staples. To save money, fewer fans now stay overnight–or even for a big dinner after the game. Staples says Weber’s even hosts wedding receptions on football Saturdays–something that would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

Even at Pizza Bob’s, game days aren’t as busy as they were three or four years ago, says Pam Pietryga. Still, there’s plenty to do–especially since she and her husband, Terry, a radiologist, have season tickets. “I help out until a half hour before the game starts–and then I run” to the stadium, she says. She leaves at the end of the third quarter and listens to the last minutes of the game on the radio.

One thing that hasn’t changed is the traffic jams. Located a block from the athletic campus, Pizza Bob’s has to suspend delivery in the fourth quarter because the streets are too clogged for their drivers to get through. They don’t start again until about two hours after the game.