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Their Cup runneth over

Local businesses cash in on Bruins’ success

Paul Granz, Lauren Bosco, Anna Araujo, and TJ White watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals at Sports Grille Boston on Wednesday night. Paul Granz, Lauren Bosco, Anna Araujo, and TJ White watched Game 1 of the Stanley Cup finals at Sports Grille Boston on Wednesday night. (Kayana Szymczak for The Boston Globe)
By Kaivan Mangouri
Globe Correspondent / June 4, 2011

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The Stanley Cup finals officially arrive in Boston when the puck drops for Game 3 Monday, but the Bruins’ deep playoff run already is providing a boost for some local businesses.

Hours before the Bruins and Canucks faced off in Game 1 Wednesday in Vancouver, British Columbia, fans were pouring into Sports Grille Boston on Canal Street, near TD Garden, said manager David Lowd. Ordinarily, there would have been about two dozen customers at the sports bar, Lowd said. But on Wednesday, about 160, many of them dressed in Bruins gear, watched the series opener.

For Sports Grille, these are bonus days.

“The further [the Bruins] go in the playoffs, the better business is for us,’’ Lowd said. “June, July, and August are Fenway months — we don’t do as well when the Bruins are ousted in April or May.’’

It was a similar scene at The Four’s sports bar on Canal Street, as well as at other bars and restaurants near the Garden. They’re all prepping for big crowds through the weekend and, of course, next week, when thousands of fans will stream into TD Garden with tickets in hand and money to spend.

But the economic impact of the Stanley Cup games extends far beyond the immediate vicinity of Causeway Street, tourism officials say. Each Cup game played here will generate about $5 million in revenue citywide, said Patrick Moscaritolo, chief executive of the Greater Boston Convention & Visitors Bureau. In addition to spending at bars and restaurants, the revenue mainly comes from hotel rooms, and the sale of sports apparel and memorabilia.

According to Moscaritolo, 5,200 fans at each home game — about 30 percent — come from beyond a 50-mile radius of Boston.

The National Hockey League is directly helping the local economy by booking about 400 rooms at various Boston hotels for staff and event sponsors.

Still, the predicted economic impact of the Stanley Cup finals here is slightly less than the $5.4 million the bureau estimated for each of the Celtics’ three home games during the NBA Finals in 2008, and the $7.2 million each of the Red Sox’ two home games brought during the 2007 World Series.

Robert Baumann, an economics professor at Holy Cross, contends that championship games might not generate the economic windfalls some claim. It’s difficult to quantify the financial benefits of major sporting events such as the Stanley Cup finals, he said.

“There’s an indirect advertising effect [as a result of] having your city in the spotlight for two weeks, but we’ll never be able to measure how much that impacts Boston’’ overall, Baumann said.

Which is not say that people aren’t eager to part with their cash because of the Bruins’ good fortune. For instance, the Sports Authority in Braintree quickly sold out of its commemorative Eastern Conference Championship jerseys, store manager Mark Rockman said. The remaining Bruins memorabilia is showcased at the front of the store, he said, a spot normally reserved for Celtics gear this time of year. Even Red Sox merchandise is being trumped by the Bruins this week. “No one comes in asking for [Adrian] Gonzalez or [Carl] Crawford jerseys,’’ he said.

Mahlon Williams, owner of The Boston Sports Apparel Company, which supplies T-shirts and other gear to area stores, said this weekend could turn out to be his best ever.

“We’re selling excitement, and we’re capitalizing on people’s emotions,’’ Williams said. “That translates to an incredible amount of business for us.’’

Williams quickly realized an original batch of 1,500 Bruins T-shirts wouldn’t be enough to satisfy the demand from his customers. A second round of 1,500 also went fast, and yesterday the company distributed another 4,000.

“I can’t fill the orders fast enough,’’ Williams said, “but it’s a good problem to have.’’

Kaivan Mangouri can be reached at kmangouri@globe.com.

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