Thursday, April 23, 2009

What the Cavs Playoff Run Means to Area Businesses, Including the Tribe

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2009 at 12:35 PM

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It doesn't take a genius to tell that a deep march into the NBA Playoffs by the Cavs is good for the city of Cleveland. More people downtown, buying stuff, drinking, eating, etc.

According to Tamera Brown of Positively Cleveland, the Cavs bring in about $3.7 million in revenue for every home game, which is a lot of moola over the course of a season (about $162.8 million), and that much more for every time the Wine and Gold hit the floor at the Q during the playoffs. Credit LeBron and company in showering the city in cash when no one else could.

One organization that probably won't benefit, however, is the Indians. A chilly spring, a slow start, and the current recession already presented enough obstacles for the Tribe in trying to draw fans into Progressive Field without having to compete with their neighbors across the Gateway complex.

Go ahead and quickly weight the options assuming the choice is going to an Indians game or watching the Cavs, whether in person or at the Q.

Easy decision, right?

Joel Hammond of Crain's Cleveland blogged about this problem:

The Cavs play Friday and Sunday, for sure — the Indians play the Twins at home each day — and the second round schedule is still unknown. The weather is supposed to be better this weekend — actually, it’s supposed to be totally awesome — so this might be a good bellwether for Tribe officials as to what to expect for the remainder Cavs’ playoff games.

But say the Cavs go seven games with the Hawks in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the Magic in the Eastern Conference finals and the Lakers in the NBA Finals. That’s 12 more home games; the Indians have nine home series through June 18, the latest possible end date for the finals, so chances are a good number of those 12 Cavs home games will fall on the night of an Indians home game. (That series number includes a series apiece against the Red Sox and Yankees, which likely will be largely unaffected by a Cavs game.)

As the excitement of the playoffs builds, and the Cavs go deeper, I’d expect a hearty impact on the Indians’ bottom line.

He's right about the Red Sox and Yankees series, but the problem is that the Indians' home schedule, with the exception of Boston and New York, isn't exactly filled with teams that'll draw the fans despite whatever's happening with the Cavs. They have two weekend series at home in May and an interleague series against the Cardinals the weekend of June 13. There's a whole lot of weekday games against ho-hum opponents in the mix, and there's only two legitimate draws when it comes to promotional items: Cliff Lee bobblehead on May 9 and Rick Vaughn "Wild Thing" bobblehead on June 15. (I didn't include the Kerry Wood bobblehead because the Cavs don't play on April 25).

Here's how the Tribe's attendance has stacked up the last three years when playing at home the same day the Cavs had a playoff game (road or away.)

2008-
31,598 (Sunday vs. Yankees) Cavs Away
15,279 (Wednesday vs. Seattle) Cavs Home
PPD- Rain
38,141 (Saturday vs. Toronto) Cavs Home
16,045 (Monday vs. Toronto — Part of doubleheader) Cavs Home
18,188 (Wednesday vs. Oakland) Cavs Away

2007-
13,843 (Wednesday vs. Texas) Cavs Home
25,065 (Saturday vs. Baltimore) Cavs Away
17,678 (Wednesday vs. Minnesota) Cavs Home
34,230 (Friday vs. Cincinnati) Cavs Away
38,645 (Monday vs. Seattle) Cavs Away
30,038 (Thursday vs. Detroit) Cavs Away
38,254 (Saturday vs. Detroit) Cavs Home
19,315 (Thursday vs. Kansas City) Cavs Away

2006-
18,438 (Tuesday vs. Boston) Cavs Home
22,106 (Friday vs. Texas) Cavs Away
22,989 (Sunday vs. Texas) Cavs Away
24,051 (Saturday vs. Detroit) Cavs Home
PPD — Rain
15,064 (Wednesday vs. Kansas City) Cavs Away
32,499 (Friday vs. Pittsburgh) Cavs Home
31,589 (Sunday vs. Pittsburgh) Cavs Away

I don't know that I can extrapolate anything too substantive from those numbers.

The problem is those seasons weren't played in this economic environment, when I'm guessing that the Tribe's advance ticket sales are hurting as fans tighten their purse strings. That's not even including downturns in season tickets sales, luxury seat sales, and suite sales, all of which are hard to gauge by attendance numbers, though the dollar impact is surely being felt at Progressive Field.

Not to mention, any dip in advance sales probably doesn't even match what the Tribe would lose in walk-up sales when squaring off against a Cavs playoff game, since spur of the moment decisions are bound to be the guiding point for many fans when deciding how to spend their entertainment dollars.

And the good will surrounding this current Cavs squad is simply unparalleled. There's a feeling — a hope, a prayer, a God-might-this-finally-be-over inkling — that this team is something phenomenally special, and to miss a moment might be something you regret for the rest of your life.

Put that up against watching Carl Pavano on the bump against the Royals on a Tuesday night.

Right.

All of that combined, no question the Tribe's going to be hurting at the gate until LeBron leads a par.......

No, I'm not going to say it.

Let's just say it could be the All Star break before the Tribe doesn't have to worry about competing with their basketball brethren for the adoration and dollars of the Cleveland sports fan, and Paul Dolan is probably rooting harder than any die-hard Cavs fan for them to sweep every series.

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