PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Thanks to playoff basketball and increased fan capacity at Arizona Diamondbacks games, businesses in downtown Phoenix are getting a much-needed boost after a rough pandemic year.
Game 2 of the first-round NBA playoffs series between the Phoenix Suns and the Los Angeles Lakers had streets, bars, restaurants and patios packed on Tuesday night. In addition to local fans, people sporting Lakers and Giants jerseys were also spending their money in the Valley economy.
“I love it. Come on, California. We’ll take it right now,” said Jason Bell, owner of Crown Public’s House, situated right between Phoenix Suns Arena and Chase Field. “My restaurant’s completely full right now, so it’s on a wait to get in there and sit down and eat, so we’re about a 25 minute wait.”
He expects his full-house crowds to last about double the usual amount of time on playoff nights because during the regular season fans clear out after dinner to go see the game. Playoff tickets are harder to come by, though, so the crowd will likely pack his restaurant right on through. “We get fans that don’t even have tickets. So people, just to be down and be a part of the whole experience are coming down just to hang out.”
Tiffany Johnson and her family came all the way from Des Moines, Iowa came all the way to see playoff action. They’re also spending out-of-state money into our economy. “We came for a family vacation and my son is also a big Lakers fan,” Johnson said.
Jack Foutz and his friends were placing bets and enjoying beers at Majerle’s Sports Grill, just a block from the arena.
“I haven’t been to a Suns game since I was like 13, so it’s just so much fun to be down here and feel the energy,” he said. “We made a point to want to come down way before the game started so we could be in the atmosphere and feel the energy and kind of be in the mix.”
He admitted they wouldn’t have been out on the town on a Tuesday if not for the playoffs. That could easily be a couple of hundred bucks Foutz and his friends spend at Majerle’s. “Hopefully, everybody comes out and spends a bunch of money and the Suns win,” said Foutz’s friend Evan Bowden.
With the Diamondbacks increasing capacity to 20,000 fans and the Suns enjoying their best season in more than a decade, Bell says it makes for one hectic night – but in a good way.
“Oh man, we love this. Every single bit of it,” he said.