Bucks’ championship run had $57.6 million local economic impact, VISIT Milwaukee estimates

Milwaukee Bucks center Bobby Portis holds up the NBA championship trophy during the downtown parade. Photo by Brandon Anderegg

Last updated on September 28th, 2021 at 01:22 pm

VISIT Milwaukee estimates the Milwaukee Bucks run to the NBA Championship had a $57.6 million impact in direct and indirect spending in the area, according to updated economic impact estimates.

The entire Bucks championship run also generated $1.1 million in total local taxes, VISIT Milwaukee said.

“We’re incredibly grateful that the Milwaukee Bucks’ fantastic run brought a vital boost to our economy,” said VISIT Milwaukee president and chief executive officer Peggy Williams-Smith. “These dollars pumped much-needed life into many of the businesses that struggled the most during the (COVID-19) pandemic, and they helped support thousands of jobs. I’m now hoping our beloved Milwaukee Brewers’ and their forthcoming post season can do the same.”

VISIT Milwaukee said the NBA Finals had a $28 million economic impact, including $5.8 million for Game 6, which the Bucks won to secure the title. Downtown Milwaukee hotels had an 82% occupancy rate during the Finals and the average daily rate for hotel rooms was $240.

The Eastern Conference Finals series vs. the Atlanta Hawks had a $14.1 million economic impact on the Milwaukee area, VISIT Milwaukee said. The Eastern Conference Semifinals series vs. the Brooklyn Nets had a $12.8 million economic impact and the first round series vs. the Miami Heat had a $2.7 million economic impact.

The total economic impact figures include estimates of spending at lodging, transportation, food and beverage, retail, recreation, venue rental, and business services companies. The data also include estimates of indirect impact and induced economic impact – the money spent between businesses to support the activity and the money spent by employees of those companies, VISIT Milwaukee said.

Total estimated direct impact by spending type for entire Bucks playoff run:

  • Lodging: $8,424,845
  • Transportation: $4,258,004
  • Food and Beverage: $5,219,209
  • Retail: $5,819,003
  • Recreation: $6,586,263
  • Space Rental: $38,521
  • Business Services: $1,210,430

For the month of July, downtown Milwaukee hotel demand was driven by Bucks’ fans, sports media, the NBA, and a few corporate partners. There were relatively few other meetings and conventions in the market that month generating significant hotel demand, VISIT Milwaukee said.

Downtown Milwaukee hotel occupancy rates and average daily hotel rates during the 2021 NBA playoffs (Including both home and away games as fans came downtown to watch the games on huge screens in the Deer District for home and road games):

  • First Round (4 games): Average occupancy 52%, average ADR $128
  • Eastern Conference Semifinals (7 games): Average occupancy 50%, average ADR $133
  • Eastern Conference Finals (6 games): Average occupancy 55%, average ADR $136
  • NBA Finals (6 games): Average occupancy 64%, average ADR $143

The data is based on attendance figures provided by the Milwaukee Bucks, room blocks booked by VISIT Milwaukee, and additional third-party information, according to VISIT Milwaukee. The data it was calculated using Destination Internationals’ economic impact calculator for sports events, an investment VISIT Milwaukee says it made in its efforts to attract larger sports events through the work of its new Sports Milwaukee division.

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Andrew Weiland is the editor of BizTimes Milwaukee. He joined BizTimes in 2003, serving as managing editor and real estate reporter for 11 years. A University of Wisconsin-Madison graduate, Weiland is a lifelong resident of the state. He lives in Muskego with his wife, Seng, and son, Zachary. He is an avid sports fan and enjoys coaching his son’s youth baseball and basketball teams.

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