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Associated Press WriterÂ tells us:
Â A hand-painted message on the window at Flanneryâ€™s Pub says it all: â€œWe Believe.â€
Fans have faith in the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are playing the franchiseâ€™s first NBA finals. But pub manager Christine Connell also believes dollars and brews are about to flow as fast as a LeBron James slam dunk.
The NBA finals are expected to generate millions of dollars for local businesses in a week unlike anything since the city hosted the World Series 10 years ago. The Cavaliers, who lost the opening game of the championship series to the San Antonio Spurs, stay on the road for Sundayâ€™s Game 2 before the series shifts to Cleveland on Tuesday.
â€œItâ€™s really exciting,â€ said Connell, whose pub near Quicken Loans Arena was very busy throughout the Cavaliersâ€™ playoff run leading up the finals. â€œAll my staff wants to be here. Itâ€™s just fun. Weâ€™ve been hoping for it all season. Whatâ€™s happened has been incredible.â€
Connell is gearing up by stocking the pub with beer and food at three times the normal rate, and sheâ€™s hoping that will suffice. Game 4 is Thursday and Game 5, if needed, is next weekend.
Her only similar experience was when the Cleveland Indians were in baseballâ€™s World Series in 1995 and 1997.
â€œI anticipate people just wanting to be in the city, close by, to be part of the excitement,â€ Connell said.
Meanwhile, some larger venues, like the Cleveland Marriott Downtown at Key Center, was close to selling out its 400 rooms, said Chris Tageson, sales director.
â€œWhenever you have an opposing team in town for something like this, there is a large following, and you can cater to that crowd,â€ she said.
Tageson said the NBA finals could produce sales at the hotel about $300,000 in excess of what it might otherwise have taken in.
Itâ€™s not clear how much hotel business may spill over to Clevelandâ€™s suburbs, but Nanci Haley, general manager of Embassy Suites in Beachwood, is getting ready.
â€œWhen downtown hotels start to get sold out, there tends to be a ripple effect,â€ said Haley, vice president of the Ohio Hotel and Lodging Association.
Itâ€™s a nice economic boost for civic leaders in Cleveland, which the U.S. Census Bureau ranks as the nationâ€™s most impoverished big city.
Game tickets, food and retail sales at Quicken Loans Arena are projected to top $4 million for each game, said Tamera Brown, a spokeswoman for the Greater Cleveland Convention & Visitors Bureau.
The city is optimistic that finals-related revenue at hotels will reach $2.5 million per game, and sales at the cityâ€™s restaurants and retail shops may reach about $2 million per game, said Virginia Carlson, deputy director for research, outreach and marketing in Clevelandâ€™s Economic Development Department.
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum also hoped be among the venues boosting sales by having staff members make surprise greetings of travelers arriving at Cleveland Hopkins International Airport, in particular flights from San Antonio.
The cityâ€™s economic benefit is likely to be even better if the Cavaliers become NBA champs.
Bill Anderson, director of planning and research for the Miami Convention Bureau, said the economic impact of the NBA finals is much more than game sales. He remembers a downtown parade celebrating the Miami Heatâ€™s championship last year.
â€œThere were probably close to 900,000 people who came out for the victory parade, which was a very hot day,â€ he said.