|By Scott Van Voorhis, Boston
HeraldMcClatchy-Tribune Regional News
Jun. 6, 2008 - There are winners and then there are really big winners when it comes to the scramble to cash in on the NBA Finals. The epic Boston and Los Angeles showdown promises to rain dollars on everyone from the Celts' top owners to restaurant and bar operators to the local hotel industry.
Even Jeremy Jacobs, owner of the Boston Bruins, stands to make out big.
Of course, there are always exceptions.
Gary Loveman, chief executive of Harrah's Entertainment, is probably not uncorking the champagne right now. Despite his 2.4 percent stake in the Celtics, NBA rules bar the former Harvard professor's casino company from taking bets on the finals.
Another company that's caught in the right place at the wrong time is TD Banknorth. The Toronto-based financial services firm inked a $150 million deal in 2005 to put its name on the North Station arena and now the world's watching, but the bank's changing its name to TD Commerce Bank.
Most everyone else, however, is making out like bandits.
The Celtics front office. All those six- and seven-game series have meant lots of playoff games in the new Garden for the Green Team. The Celtics are likely pulling in $2 million in ticket sales per home game, or double the regular season, according to one industry insider. Add in sponsorship deals and merchandise sales, and a team in a major market like Boston can expect to make profits of $1 million per home game, estimates Marc Ganis of Chicago-based SportsCorp.
The local hotel industry. The NBA has booked 7,500 room nights, or just under 2,000 each home game, in Boston for the big series. Throw in all the rooms the Lakers and ABC are booking, and the number of room nights passes the 8,000 mark -- or the size of a big convention. That's good news for the Four Seasons, the InterContinental, the Boston Harbor Hotel and the Liberty Hotel, among others. All those visitors from L.A. and New York are expected to pump $4.5 million into the local economy every game the Celtics play against the Lakers here. "It's quite a shot in the arm for the (tourism) economy," said Patrick Moscaritolo, president of the Greater Boston Convention and Visitors Bureau.
Jeremy Jacobs may no longer have a team in the playoffs. But as owner of both the Garden and its concessionaire, the Buffalo business magnate is making out big. Think $450,000 in food and beverage revenue, maybe half of that profit, estimates one executive. Sales of hats, jerseys and other souvenirs are soaring, said John Wentzell, the Garden's general manager. Executives in the luxury suites have been spending large during the playoffs to entertain their best clients. "They are just going over the top," Wentzell said.
Ticket scalpers and resellers. You too can go watch the Celtics in Game 7 at the Garden, right behind the players bench -- if you can cough up $11,315. If you have a spare $35,000, you can rent a whole suite. I guess its another sign the Celtics have joined the Patriots at the top of the local sports heap.
Fenway Sports Group's portfolio of deals just keeps growing. The sports business firm, launched a few years ago by the owners of the Boston Red Sox, is now moving into real estate as well.
FSG has just made a deal to market the Ritz-Carlton Club, which offers fractional ownerships, ranging from $200,000 to $550,000, at golf, skiing, beach and urban resorts across the country and in the Bahamas.
Under the consulting deal, FSG, through its range of contacts in the sports marketing and corporate world, will help hook Ritz-Carlton up with potential customers.
In the works are events featuring wives of Red Sox players and targeting NASCAR crew and team members.
Winners & Losers runs every other Friday. Send sports business tips to email@example.com.
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