By Katie Soltas, NAMA Blogger | 10.30.16
Remar, Inc.’s marketing manager and longtime NAMA member, Emily Fay, simply wanted to bond with a few Nebraska Cornhusker fans during football season without leaving her new home of Nashville.
What she started became more than a small group of game day buddies, but a movement that has generated thousands of dollars in college scholarships for Nashvillians and has pumped nearly $240,000 into Music City’s economy through food and beverage sales.
Fay moved to Nashville in 2007 from Nebraska. In 2009, she performed digital research and recruiting on Facebook and LinkedIn, inviting Husker alumni to watch the football season opener at what was formerly Closing Bell on Demonbreun Hill. Twenty people confirmed their attendance, but 80 fans showed up to the first game – greatly exceeding Fay’s expectations.
Since then, the “Nashville Huskers” migrated to several locations in the city until they landed a permanent home, the Tin Roof 2 in Cool Springs, where they have met the past four seasons.
More than 150 fans gather each weekend, and Fay has kept detailed records showing the group’s annual financial impact for the establishments where they congregate. Although it can be challenging for restaurants to meet the needs of the large group, the herd brings in up to $40,000 in revenue each football season.
But for Fay, watching the games wasn’t enough.
Through merchandise sales and other means, she led the group in raising $18,000 over the past five years for the University of Nebraska Legends scholarship that goes to three deserving Middle Tennessee college applicants every year.
College football brings the Nashville Huskers together, but the professional networking and relationship-building opportunities is what keeps the group alive and thriving.
During our interview, Fay rattles off several long-lost relatives and friends that found each other through the group, including her mother and a childhood friend who rekindled their friendship. Two Husker alumni fell in love (let’s assume over beer and wings) during a season and are now married. One Nashville Husker’s friends from Purdue came every year when their team played Nebraska. Last year, he tragically passed away from cancer and his friends still came to Nashville during the Purdue game to honor him.
“Everyone in the group knows each other now, and we are all connected somehow,” said Fay, who is looking forward to their 100th watch party on Nov. 19. “I never imagined it would turn into a true community.”