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Despite Game 7 loss, Vancouver Canucks playoff run a win for business

Click to play video: 'Economics of the end of the Canucks playoff run'
Economics of the end of the Canucks playoff run
With the Vancouver Canucks now out of the playoffs, Cassidy Mosconi finds out how much local businesses made in extra sales during their run and how much they 'won't' make now that it's over – May 21, 2024

The Vancouver Canucks’ best playoff run in a decade is over, and while there’s heartbreak among fans, businesses and the police are reflecting on a big win for the city.

Vancouver police praised the city and its fans for how they handled the playoff run.

While there were dozens of liquor-related infractions on game days, Const. Tania Visintin said, for the most part, Canucks fans behaved themselves, and there were no hints of the riotous behaviour that followed Vancouver’s 2011 Stanley Cup Final loss.

“We couldn’t be prouder of the fans and how they acted,” she said.

Click to play video: 'Vancouver Canucks eliminated from playoffs'
Vancouver Canucks eliminated from playoffs

Bars, restaurants and hotels were the biggest beneficiaries, as fans flocked to big screens in growing numbers as the team progressed through a 13-game post-season run.

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“We were lined up out the door from 2 p.m. and the game was at 6 p.m., people were jumping up and down, screaming, shouting, we were handing out rally towels to everyone, the energy was electric,” said Murray Saunders, general manager of Vancouver sports bar The Shark Club.

“It affected the business earlier before the playoffs were going on. It actually created that energy and that spirit. Before we made the playoffs we definitely saw an upswing in business.”

B.C. Restaurant and Foodservice Association president and CEO Ian Tostenson said playoff game nights added about $2 million per game to the bottom line of restaurants across the province, with the biggest bonus on weekdays.

According to Tostenson, up to 60 per cent of B.C. restaurants are losing money, many still struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the spring playoff run, he said, was a well-timed economic windfall that helped restaurants equipped to show the games transition from the winter to patio season when business typically picks up.

“It’s the psychology of getting us out, getting us beyond our day-to-day, and that’s what the Canucks did,” he said. “We get people out, they spend money, and they feel good about themselves, so it’s a great effect for the industry.”

Click to play video: 'Canucks playoffs a big win for B.C. restaurants'
Canucks playoffs a big win for B.C. restaurants

Michael Naraine, an associate professor of sport management at Brock University, said it’s difficult to pin down the exact economic benefit from a playoff run.

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But he estimated making it to Game 7 of Round 2 in the Stanley Cup Playoffs generates economic impact in the “mid-to-low single-digit millions. Particularly for the Canucks Oilers series, you saw a lot of fans travelling from Vancouver to Edmonton and vice versa.”

Hotels, bars and restaurants within a few kilometres of Rogers Arena were likely the biggest beneficiaries, he said, but there are also wider bumps in sales of food, accommodation and merchandise.

Click to play video: 'Canucks superfan attends every playoff game'
Canucks superfan attends every playoff game

The Canucks organization itself, he said, also scored a major win with more than a dozen extra games coupled with lower salary payouts for players during the playoffs.

And while the Canucks’ exit from the tournament will no doubt lead to a slowdown in sales, the party likely isn’t over completely. Despite the rivalry between Vancouver and Edmonton, the marketability of Oilers superstar Connor McDavid coupled with the fact Edmonton is the last Canadian team standing may yet get people out and spending money.

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“We have a lot of Edmonton fans in town,” Saunders agreed. “It’s surprising how many jerseys were Edmonton jerseys in here as well… We will have a couple hundred people in here every night for the Edmonton playoffs as well.”

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