ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — For every game of the Penguins’ Stanley Cup Playoffs run, Jeff Butya hovers over a switch and a button.
When the Pens find the net, Jeff springs into action activating the red light and horn at All-Star Sports Bar & Grill in Robinson, and then he does a celebratory dance. The dance is for the Pens, but it might as well be for his cash register.
“Every night during a Penguins’ game is a Friday night,” he says. “The whole city comes out, the bar is filled, fans are at their favorite table or chair and it’s standing-room only. People just want to be a part of the atmosphere.”
It was lucrative when the Pens won the Stanley Cup last year, and already this year, Jeff has seen a 20 to 25 percent increase on the bottom line.
Butya is far from alone.
VisitPittsburgh CEO Craig Davis says, “Every night now, the games mean $4.9 million by our calculation to the local economy.”
Davis says the per game revenue numbers are climbing because the deeper the Penguins have gone in the playoffs, the more people attending the games are from outside the 412 and 724. In fact, the out-of-towner attendance is now up to 34 percent per game.
Davis says, “They come and they stay in hotels, they spend a lot more money with three meals a day and they buy a lot more souvenirs. So that’s where the real money comes from.”
Local folks are spending more money this year, too. Beer sales are up across the region.
At Giant Eagle, Jannah Jablonowski says, “We have seen a general double digit increase in merchandise sales for the team this year.”
Davis says when you total up the “unanticipated revenue” from the playoffs so far, it tops $55 million through Game 2 of the Stanley Cup Final.
If the series goes seven games, Pittsburgh would host two more home games and could reap another $10 million.
Sounds good from an economic standpoint, but Davis says, “We don’t want seven games that is way too uncomfortable. We’ll take the money we have and go on our merry way and get ready for next year.”