LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — Businesses around the STAPLES Center are bracing for a big weekend with four playoff games scheduled.
KNX 1070’s Ed Mertz reports the cash registers are expected to start ringing Thursday with Game 3 of the Western Conference semifinals between the Los Angeles Kings and the Anaheim Ducks.
The Kings hope to extend their 2-0 lead over the Ducks in the long-awaited “Freeway” series, which marks the first postseason match-up between Southern California’s two NHL teams.
On Friday, STAPLES Center crews will convert the arena from hockey rink to hardwood basketball court for the Clippers, who return home to host the Oklahoma City Thunder for their Game 3 semifinals match-up after splitting the first two games at Chesapeake Energy Arena.
STAPLES Center is the only arena in North America currently hosting second-round playoff series in both the NBA and NHL, according to venue officials.
But for Alex Hasbanny, general manager of Palm Restaurant, located a block east of the Staples Center, the fan turnout is more important than the games’ outcome.
“Playoff games are huge for us. They can make or break our year,” he said.
Los Angeles Sports Council President David Simon says the three Staples teams each play about 40 games at home.
“If they go all the way in the playoffs you’re looking at potentially 12-15 games on top of the 41. It’s really like adding possibly one-third to their season,” Simon said.
And that could mean that much more profit for the surrounding businesses.
Ricardo Avila, general manager of Mexican restaurant El Cholo, which is located about a block northeast of Staples, the playoff atmosphere also impacts how fans spend their money.
“You can actually see the difference, it seems like they are more excited,” Avila said, noting that the average check amount jumps as much as about 50 percent during the postseason.
While Clippers fans are more likely to buy beer, Kings fans tend to buy more “high-end items like special tequilas and top-shelf margaritas,” according to Avila.
Robert Serpato, general manager for Live Basil Pizza at LA Live, said Clippers and Kings fans also have competing appetites as well.
“Clipper fans are much healthier fans; they’ll go with the vegetarian pizzas, more healthy toppings and they’ll go with soft drinks, not as much beer,” Serpato said.
Kings fans, on the other hand, tend to go “heavy on the meats, light on the vegetables, and lots of beer,” he added.
CBS2/KCAL9 reporter Jeff Nguyen surveyed several servers and bartenders at other eateries, who say Kings fans leave more generous tips.
Hockey fans like Nicola Connelly and Bob Kroll say they plan on spending a considerable amount for the playoff.
“We came down from Vegas this afternoon. With the hotel here, dinner and drinks and the game, it’s got to be a good $1,500,” Kroll said.