CLEVELAND -- As the Cavs prepare to take on the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals for the fourth straight year, downtown businesses are expecting a big win regardless of what happens on the court.
A study by the Cavs after the 2016 Championship season found each home playoff game contributes an economic impact of about $3.6 million in the city, according to Emily Lauer, Senior Director of Public Relations for Destination Cleveland.
With Cleveland hosting up to three Finals home games, the city could see an economic impact of more than $10 million.
"Sports is a huge driver of the economy in Cleveland, both from a local perspective as well as from our visitor economy," Lauer said. "It brings in money, it brings people downtown and because so many people come downtown, it also pushes people out into the neighborhoods and suburbs, particularly from a hotel perspective."
Hotel occupancy spikes during home playoff games, with some downtown hotels already nearing capacity for Finals games. Bars and restaurants near Quicken Loans Arena also bring in extra staff to accommodate large game night crowds.
"East 4th is usually pretty busy, but we really thrive when the Cavs, Indians and Browns are in town and doing well," said Jonathan Blair, general manager of the Greenhouse Tavern.
He said business grows by about four times during Finals games compared with an average weekend night and it's a different crowd.
"Playoff games are much more energetic. People will be four, five deep at the bar looking just to grab a quick drink, maybe a quick appetizer, rather than looking to sit down and have a three-course meal."
The Q transformation project, involving a renovation of the arena, will continue during the Finals, meaning changes to traffic patterns on Huron Road will remain in effect. The team continues to recommend car pooling, using public transportation and ride sharing, and arriving early.
Lauer said the Finals will once again provide a priceless platform to market Cleveland to visitors and television viewers.
"This is the fourth year in a row we're going to have national and international television exposure," Lauer said. "It again tells people Cleveland's on the comeback."