Excitement over the Toronto Raptors' NBA Finals run is great news for bars across the country, but experts say the moment is an invaluable marketing opportunity for Toronto that could provide a substantial long-term economic boost to the region.
The championship run has already proven to be a boon for watering holes as people gather to take in the games with other fans.
"It's interesting if I'm sitting at home watching it. It's exciting if I'm sitting in a bar with 200 of my best new friends watching a game," said Jeff Guthrie, chief marketing officer at payments firm Moneris.
The company found that spending at bars in the Greater Toronto Area was up 72 per cent for Game 2 last Sunday against the Golden State Warriors, compared with the same day last year. At its peak, spending was up 183 per cent at 10 p.m. Eastern time during the game.
Nationally, spending at bars jumped 28 per cent on the day of Game 2, and was up 89 per cent at the peak.
"It really shows that the Raptors are Canada's...