March 07, 2018

The team giving Philadelphia bars a boost during March Madness (Philadelphia Business Journal) »

By  – Reporter, Philadelphia Business Journal


March Madness translates to spikes in revenue for Philadelphia restaurants and bars, which perform better than the national average when the Villanova University Wildcats take to the court.

March Madness only gives local businesses a small, 6 percent bump in revenue during the tournament, according to information given to the Philadelphia Business Journal by Womply, which monitors transaction data at over 4 million small businesses.

Womply analyzed transactions at small local businesses in cities that hosted games during the 2017 tournament and local businesses in college towns with March Madness teams to identify revenue trends on game days compared to non-game days during the tournament.

Philadelphia restaurants and bars in 2017 saw a 6 percent increase in business during the tournament, mirroring the national trend, according to Womply.

But when Nova Nation is rooting on the Wildcats, Philadelphia is the exception to that rule. Businesses in the city saw an 18 percent bump in revenue on days when the Wildcats played compared to an average day, bucking the national trend of 6 percent on game days, Womply said.

That makes Philadelphia one of the few cities that saw a significant bump from the tournament.

Morgantown, W.Va., home of West Virginia University; Tallahassee, Fla., home of Florida State University, Lafayette, Ind., home of Purdue University; and Providence, R.I., home of Rhode Island University, also saw similar spikes in revenue.

Average weekday revenue for Philadelphia restaurants and bars in 2017 during March Madness was about $1,097, according to Womply, and average weekend revenue was $1,782.

The Villanova Wildcats played twice in the tournament last year, on Thursday, March 16, and Saturday, March 18.

On Thursday, bars and restaurants saw a 9 percent increase in revenue making $1,175, and on Saturday they saw a 28 percent increase in revenue, making $2,275, according to Womply data.

Advancing in the tournament played no real factor on revenue in college towns, according to Womply officials, who said making the Final Four provided no bigger boost than making the Round of 64.

Spokane, Wash., however, was the one city that flooded restaurants and bars for the final matchup. The home of Gonzaga University saw an 80 percent sales increase during the National Championship game 2017, according to Womply.

Womply data showed Philadelphia restaurants and bars experienced revenue spikes during Super Bowl LII last month, while Boston’s saw a decrease in revenue.

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