MILWAUKEE — Milwaukee businesses are reaping the rewards of the Bucks' playoff series against the Miami Heat.
After Saturday's Game 1 drew crowds to the Deer District and surrounding businesses, those same establishments prepared for Game 2 Monday night.
"There were tons of people out on the street and in the stores and the restaurants," said Melissa McNulty, co-owner of the Wisconsin Cheese Mart.
"It was really great to see the city be so alive," said Jon Bjerning, assistant general manager of the Aloft Milwaukee Downtown hotel.
After a painful year for businesses, McNulty said a Bucks playoff run is just what they needed.
"We had a lot of disappointments last year, but we're seeing a lot of positivity in the last couple of months, a lot of progression. We're optimistic," McNulty said.
Visit Milwaukee estimated pre-pandemic a single Bucks home playoff game generated about $3 million into the economy, but noted the number may be different considering capacity restrictions.
"I don't think we would've completely sold out this weekend just from the graduations. It was really that last push from the Bucks game that really put us over the top," Bjerning said.
About a block from Fiserv Forum, the Aloft Milwaukee Downtown hotel just came off their first sold-out weekend in a long time. Bjerning said Monday's bookings doubled what they were before the weekend, and the Bucks are a big reason why.
"The industry was hit so hard through the pandemic, especially the downtown hotels. With business being closed, with people not traveling for work, there wasn't really much reason to stay downtown. So now it's great that downtown's coming alive again," Bjerning said.
The impact of a winning team adds another reason why Milwaukee is pulling for the Bucks to go all the way.