HIGHLAND HEIGHTS, Ky. (AP) — Businesses are hoping for an economic boost as the Northern Kentucky University's sports teams make the jump to Division I competition and the Atlantic Sun Conference this year.

A Friday exhibition men's soccer game against the University of Kentucky drew 1,206 fans, the first-ever sellout at NKU's two-year-old soccer stadium.

University spokesman Chris Cole told The Kentucky Enquirer (bit.ly/OfGvgv) that the school will likely see larger crowds at athletic events, but it was too early to predict how the move to a higher level of competition would impact the school and surrounding area.

Skyline Tavern manager Tom Kleinschmidt says moving to Division I will only bring more attention to basketball and other sports. In the four years since The Bank of Kentucky Center opened, Skyline's business has increased.

"Being close to the campus and being kind of a campus bar, and showing games and sporting events (on TV) — if they're D-I, and games are on campus, hopefully we can be a part of it, and hopefully people will want to come see us before games or after games," said Kleinschmidt, a Northern Kentucky University alum.

Skyline does have some competition: A new sports bar, Dunkers, just opened in Cold Spring across the street from NKU's Callahan Hall dormitory.

"With the D-I move, everything's just blowing up around here," said co-owner Jeff Kinney, a graduate of NKU.

Highland Heights Mayor Greg Meyers said people and businesses will relocate closer to the arena and campus because of the move to Division I.

"Those seeds were all planted years ago, but I think you'll see all that stuff take off now. And I really believe it's because of the D-I," Meyers said.


Information from: The Kentucky Enquirer, http://www.nky.com