Philly businesses hope for playoff profit

Joel Rose Oct 15, 2010

Philly businesses hope for playoff profit

Joel Rose Oct 15, 2010


BILL RADKE: The Major League Baseball playoffs continue this weekend with games in Arlington, Texas, and
Philadelphia. In Philly, the local businesses are hanging on every pitch.

Reporter Joel Rose takes us there.

JOEL ROSE: It’s happy hour at the South Philly Bar and Grill, a TV-saturated sports bar a couple miles from the Phillies’ ballpark. Business is good, for a weeknight. But co-owner Ken Brownell, Sr. says it’s nothing compared to what he’ll do during a playoff game.

KEN BROWNELL, SR.: If they’re winning, even during the course of a given game, people have a tendency to get more enthusiastic, and buy an extra drink, buy extra food, or whatever it might be. There’s definitely an impact.

Brownell says his sales can jump 40 percent on a game night. But this is not the kind of impact you can plan for in advance. Co-owner Ken Brownell, Jr. says you never really know how your team is going to do.

KEN BROWNELL, JR.: In the past, we’ve been burned by counting on the Eagles and other sports teams. And they just haven’t come through, and the fans have given up. So I guess the Phillies kind of help balance it out for the teams that don’t do so well.

The Phillies are trying to make it to the World Series for the third year in a row. That helped take the sting out of the recession for many local bars and restaurants.

Peter Chiarrocchia owns Chickie’s and Pete’s, a local chain of sports-friendly restaurants.

PETER CHIARROCCHIA: Because I’m in Philadelphia, and we have the Phillies making it to the World Series, our numbers are around the same. So we’re like 1 percent up, instead of being 20 percent down.

But not every business in town benefits from the team’s success. Bryan Dilworth is the booker for the Electric Factory, one of the top concert venues in Philadelphia.

BRYAN DILWORTH: People become baseball fans October 1st. You know, they don’t become necessarily Social Distortion fans October 1st.

Dilworth has learned the hard way that business drops 10 percent or more when the Phillies are playing. So he doesn’t have anything on the calendar for Saturday or Sunday.

DILWORTH: I’m not saying that I wouldn’t do a Bob Dylan show or a Bruce Springsteen show. But we didn’t rush out to look for something, let’s put it that way.

Still, Dilworth is rooting for the Phillies to make it back to the World Series. He just hopes they sweep through the playoffs quickly.

In Philadelphia, I’m Joel Rose for Marketplace.

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