Hockey heats up the local economy
The puck is set to drop on the Binghamton Senators 11th season. The B-Sens face off Saturday with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. As YNN's Chris Whalen tells us, the new year means added interest in the surrounding downtown economy.
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BINGHAMTON, N.Y. -- Except for the sound of the Zamboni, it was a quiet afternoon at the Veterans' Memorial Arena in Binghamton. But come Saturday, the seats will be filled with fans eager for another season of hockey.
"It's awesome, you know, when we can get the fans behind us and when it's loud here in this rink, it gives you a lot of energy and that extra boost that you need," said B-Sens forward Mike Hoffman.
Binghamton has always been a hockey town, but when the team brought home the city's first championship two seasons ago, the organization says more people started to take notice of what was going on inside the rink.
"Certainly, the Calder Cup championship improved out season ticket sales last year,” said Tom Mitchell B-Sens Executive Vice President of Operations. “What's been really encouraging, though, is our corporate support has increased somewhat. I think that's a good sign for the hockey club and a sign that people are interested in what we're doing here."
More fans in the seats means more people are coming to downtown Binghamton. As they make their way to the arena, chances increase that they might stop at the surrounding businesses to see what they have to offer.
"There's so much down here now that we haven't had in a few years, so it's a great opportunity to come down, enjoy the hockey team, bring your family and enjoy the rest of downtown," said Ron Sall of the Downtown Business Association.
In addition to dining at the local bars and restaurants, the team estimates that close to 2,000 rooms were rented at the nearby Holiday Inn just for hockey games.
"That's substantial, I mean, there's the hotel tax and everything over and above the sales tax that stays right here in our community."
Meaning as hockey season progresses and the temperature drops, the economy is likely to heat up once again in Binghamton.