Grizz fever is in the air, on the ground, and inside local restaurants. Sold out playoff games serve up booming business downtown.
"If you look on the weekends, especially Saturdays, it's probably a 20-30 percent bump in business," said Shawn Danko Memphis Restaurant Association Vice President.
During each playoff home game, Danko says most downtown food spots see between a $1,500 - $3,500 increase. The Kooky Canuck owner says Saturday's start time of 4 p.m. for Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals between the Grizzlies and the Thunder could be a game changer too.
"It makes a big difference if we look at the 4 p.m. time frame (Saturday)," he said. "It allows guests to come downtown, take their time, park, find a place to eat lunch. So they'll have lunch, go to the game, at a leisurely pace, there's no rush, and then when the game is done around 7:30 it's time to eat again."
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The benefit of strong lunch and dinner hours could score up to a 35 percent sales increase for the day. While some playoff games are away, Danko said they still reach pockets at home as away games typically increase bar sales up to 10 percent.
"It's like the stars are aligned for Memphis downtown," said Douglas Browne, Vice President of Peabody Hotels.
Browne says most of The Peabody Hotel's rooms are typically booked throughout the year. However, he says Grizzlies games do impact their popular bar and restaurant scene.
"I'd probably say 20-25 percent pick up," he said.
Before afternoon games, Browne the hotel's corner bar and lobby start to fill up about an hour or so earlier. After the game, he says many customers spill over to Beale Street.
While most businesses can't afford to depend on a playoff season each year, Browne says he does expect sales to rise the further the Grizz grind into this series.
"It's really kind of over the last two-three years, steadily," he said. "The fever has gotten better and better and better. I think after last year's season, people really got the Grizzlies fever."
The Grizzlies and Thunder are tied 1-1. Games 3 and 4 of the series is at the FedExForum. Game 4 is Monday at 8:30 p.m. Game 5 is in Oklahoma City on Wednesday, May 15, at 8:30 p.m.
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