There’s plenty of excitement around the area for Saturday’s Seahawks’ playoff game, especially at local businesses who will get one or two extra windfalls.
“What we would do normally in a week in the winter, we are going to double in just a day,” says Tyler Pascoe of Elysian Fields, a popular brewpub just north of CenturyLink Field.
“January and February are usually dead,” he says.
An extra playoff game or two also puts some much needed cash in the pockets of employees. Where normally Elysian Fields would have just a handful of employees on a winter day, it’s all hands on deck for workers who’ll benefit from both extra hours and tips alike.
“You’re talking, literally, from about 60 hours to over 320 hours in staffing in a given day when we have a playoff game. That’s how big it is,” he says.
The extra games are a welcome bonus for local hotels as well.
Seahawks fans commonly travel from all over the region throughout the season. The playoffs attract far more fans from across the country, says Bill Weise, general manager of the Silver Cloud Inn adjacent to CenturyLink Field and Safeco Field.
With 211 rooms and 26 suites overlooking the stadium, the hotel and many others around the city will be packed for the weekend with guests who wouldn’t have normally visited this time of year, says Weise.
The impact of one or two extra playoff games extends far beyond the local hotels, restaurants and bars, and can pay huge dividends well into the future, says Ralph Morton, the executive director of the Seattle Sports Commission, which promotes pro sports for the city’s Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Millions around the country will tune in to a playoff game. Every time the city is in the national spotlight, it equates to millions of dollars more in free TV exposure.
“It is so amplified, it is invaluable in building our national brand. Every time we play a game like this we’re exporting that brand throughout the country,” says Morton.
Some analysts estimate an NFL playoff game can generate between $9 and $20 million in economic activity.
Along with attracting future visitors to the city, the exposure also helps attract other businesses who see Seattle as a dynamic, trend-setting city.
“When you bring Seattle into people’s living rooms, it makes us not seem so far away to the rest of the country,” says Morton.
That’s important in helping attract other events as well. The city will host second- and third-round games of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament March 20 and 22 at KeyArena, the first time the tournament has been played in Seattle since 2004.
Morton and others have their sights set on a much bigger prize: the Super Bowl. He was among a contingent of local tourism officials and city leaders who traveled to the Super Bowl last year in New York/New Jersey to see what it takes to host the big game, and begin a long term lobbying effort to convince the NFL to bring the title game to the Emerald City.
“From the opening game of the season to the playoffs, every time we do a good job, it’s another positive for Seattle and the NFL can’t help but notice.”