PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Economically, the Pittsburgh Penguins are not as big a draw as the Steelers, simply because PPG Paints Arena’s capacity at 20,000 people is dwarfed by Heinz Field’s 68,000.
Still, hockey playoffs raise big bucks.
“Last year, the Penguins playoff run netted Pittsburgh about $50 million, and so far this year, we are at $44 million to date,” says Craig Davis, CEO of Visit Pittsburgh.
Davis says with Monday and Wednesday Stanley Cup games in Pittsburgh, the Pens are already an economic winner.
“Given the fact that we’re going to have an additional two games, we’re guaranteed at least $53 million this far,” Davis said.
Food, drinks, hotels, travel, souvenirs and taxes on everything add up, and home ice is a boost.
“Home ice advantage is a big deal for us because we’re guaranteed at least the first two games, and often times, at least one other,” says Davis. “So it has worked in our favor in the past, and it works in our favor now.”
Admittedly, tickets are hard to come by for the opposing teams in each city.
In fact, Nashville limited its online purchases to those who live in the Nashville zip codes.
But local hotels will be booked.
“During the playoffs, there’s a big hotel crunch in the city,” said Davis.
Many Pens fans spend the night in town after the games.
“Penguins people from all over the country come in, too.” Davis added.
And then there’s those beauty shots on national television that adds to Pittsburgh’s growing reputation as a must-see city to visit.
“The exposure of having Pittsburgh in a national television show is an amazing thing for us because it brings a lot of interest into the city,” said Davis. “And when we go out to sell, Pittsburgh people have a familiarity that they’ve garnered through having seen Pittsburgh on national TV, so it’s a wonderful thing for us.”
Made only better when the Pens win the Stanley Cup.