DENVER — Denver's economy is expecting to cash in on tens of millions of dollars during the NBA Finals.
"Other cities who have hosted NBA Finals estimate between the last round of the playoffs and the Finals being anywhere between $50 and $60 million of economic activity within the city," Chelsea Rosty, the Denver Economic Development and Opportunity chief of staff, told Denver7 Wednesday.
Restaurants, bars, hotels, and transportation services are expected to make the most money.
"I was looking at sales tax numbers for last year when we had the Stanley Cup. We were up, gosh, $68 million over the prior year in sales tax," Rosty said.
Rosty said some of that may have been attributed to the economy bouncing back from COVID-19, "but to be up $68 million same month-over-month, year-over-year and then up $30 million from the year prior, it just goes to show, like, what kind of bump that can have in our sales tax numbers in Denver."
For more perspective, downtown Denver saw an increase of 300,000 people for each Stanley Cup Finals game, which is a 30% increase over the same day from the prior year when there wasn't a game.
"So you can think 300,000 more people in downtown, what that looks like and how that really helps our economy," Rosty said.
That's one reason why the Downtown Denver Partnership is trying to help businesses take advantage of the opportunity.
"We're working with all the businesses to make sure that we're doing our part to market them, to ensure that they have the right exposure to try and anticipate attendance so that we're prepared and staffed," DDP CEO and President Kourtny Garrett said. "Denver is a place that has branded itself and has really adopted sports as a part of our DNA."
NBA Finals: What fans need to know about Nuggets watch parties
Game 1 of the NBA Finals is scheduled for June 1 at 6:30 p.m. on Denver7.
The Nuggets are waiting to see if their opponent will be the Miami Heat, who are leading 3-1 in their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Boston Celtics. Game 5 of that series is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m.