PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Heinz Field is under invasion. Normally, Pirates and Steelers fans dominate North Shore landscape between PNC Park and Heinz Field.
But this weekend, Steelers Country is turning into Penguins Country for the 2017 Coors Light NHL Stadium Series. Penguins fans are here from as far away as Iowa and Florida to witness the outdoor event.
“It was a Christmas present. I’m a big Penguins fan, so yeah, wanted to make it out here for a game, why not this one,” said Andrew Allyn of Iowa.
“Wanna see the Pens beat the Flyers,” said Mitchell Karasek from Florida.
A total of 66,000 fans are expected to see the Penguins take on rival team Philadelphia Flyers.
Some Flyers fans are making their first visit to Pittsburgh
“It’s a city, it’s been a lot of fun so far,” said one fan. “Be better if the game was in Philadelphia.”
This game could not come at a better time, not only for fans, but for local businesses especially on the North Shore.
The Steelers season is over and the Pirates are in Spring Training. But the Tequila Cowboy restaurant group is getting major boost.
“Between January and February, they’re the hardest months, everything goes down from there, with this beautiful weather and then this “Classic” going as well, we’re all very excited about it,” said restaurant manager D.J. Givner.
Businesses like Local Brewhouse say they’re ready to make a profit, predicting they’ll triple their revenue this weekend.
“We didn’t realize we were gonna be this busy all day long. We normally have a lunch rush from 10-2, then it slows down a little bit, but we’ve stayed consistent all day, so it’s really good,” General Manager of Local Brewhouse Laura Ward said. “Tomorrow we are expecting this times like three. Probably more.”
Increasing staff is crucial to success this weekend.
“We definitely increased the bartenders and servers and cooks for the increased revenue,” General Manager of Hyde Park Prime Steakhouse Ken Macieski said.
Managers at hotels like the Hyatt say they’re sold out Saturday night and anticipate Friday to be the same.
The last time there was an outdoor hockey game in Pittsburgh was the Winter Classic at Heinz Field in 2011. The Penguins were defeated by the Washington Capitals. But the game pumped $22 million into the local economy. This year should bring even more.
“Since then we’ve had an increase in the amount of seats that could be taken, and also prices have gone up since then, so we expect the $22 million will be exceeded this time,” said Visit Pittsburgh CEO Craig Davis.