Pittsburgh racks up bucks for every Penguins home playoff game
Columbus Blue Jackets fans Zach and Ross Perry traveled to Pittsburgh to see their team play the Penguins at Consol Energy Center in the opening game of the National Hockey League playoffs.
They stayed at the Hampton Inn & Suites, Downtown, and paid $85 each for tickets to the April 16 game.
The Perry brothers (Zach from Indiana and Ross from Ohio) contributed to the $3.4 million in spending and taxes that VisitPittsburgh, a nonprofit tourism bureau, estimates every Penguins home playoff game generates for the Pittsburgh economy.
Though much of that money goes to the team through ticket sales, concessions and merchandise, the city benefits as well. City Controller Michael Lamb said that about $110,000 comes in through amusement tax alone per game, and more comes from parking and sales taxes and increased traffic to hotels and restaurants.
He couldn't estimate yet the total amount these “indirect” spending sources will generate.
“The longer you go, the more benefits there are,” Lamb said. “The closer they get to the Stanley Cup, the more interest that generates, and the interest that generates brings more people into town.”
The Penguins could play up to 16 home games this playoff season if each series goes to the maximum seven games and the Penguins advance to the Conference Finals and Stanley Cup Final with home ice. The series with the Blue Jackets is tied 2-2 with Game 5 at Consol Energy Center on Saturday.
Because of the potential of more possible home games, a Penguins' postseason run can be more financially beneficial to Pittsburgh than the Steelers in the playoffs, according to VisitPittsburgh President and CEO Craig Davis. This is true despite Consol having a seating capacity that is less than one-third of Heinz Field.
“You have so many more local hockey games, but each one obviously has a smaller spend,” Davis said. “Hockey actually spends a little more than football does over the course of a year. ... It's a matter of numbers.”
Robert Morris University sports management professor David Synowka said there is fluctuation in how much the city will bring in per series, citing a number of factors, including the size of the city they play against, rivalries, and how seriously the other city takes the sport.
“There will be probably some minimal economic impact (early on) because when you look at the initial rounds of the NHL playoffs, probably most of the tickets will be sold to regular season ticketholders and people living in the Pittsburgh Penguins' market,” Synowka said. “However, I think as you start to go deep in the playoffs, you probably have somewhat of a greater impact” from more out-of-town fans.
The home team can generate forms of income from the playoffs besides ticket and merchandise sales, mainly from marketing opportunities and increased sponsors' visibility, he said.
Tom McMillan, Penguins' vice president of communications, cited promotional shirts, free noisemakers and the outdoor screening of the game at the corner of Centre Avenue and Mario Lemieux Place as postseason promotional chances that arise for the team.
“You have unbelievable marketing opportunities when there's so much focus on your team,” McMillan said “If you don't make the playoffs, you don't only miss revenue, you miss those marketing opportunities.”
McMillan said some benefits from a playoff run are not seen for years.
“It creates memories. You can't always put a dollar figure on that, but that is very important as well in addition to the pure business of selling tickets and having people come to games,” McMillan said.
Alex Stumpf is a reporter for Point Park News Service.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Drops in gasoline prices won’t likely last, analysts say
- Energy companies vie for experienced workers with skills in high demand
- Energy Spotlight: Adam Pope
- Energy-saving tactics pay off in Green Workplace Challenge
- U.S. Steel plans to close two plants affecting 545 workers
- Former athletes open businesses
- News keeps getting better at the pump, as national average nears $2 a gallon
- Energy industry says it’s on top of methane leaks, but environmentalists want oversight
- Chevron laying off 162 workers from Moon-based unit
- Password change can block hackers from wireless cameras
- Google to roll out wireless phone plan