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Grizzlies playoff run will bring millions to Memphis, leaders say

On a normal Sunday, about 19,000 people visit Beale Street. For Game 1 against Golden State, that number more than doubled.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As the Memphis Grizzlies prep for Game 6 in the Bay Friday, leaders are predicting this playoff run will bring in millions to Memphis.

In this era of ‘Grit and Grind,’ fans are here to cheer on the Grizzlies.

"So many of those tickets are being purchased by people, regionally, and really from all over the country," said Kevin Kane, President of Memphis Tourism.

More fans mean more tourists downtown, especially on Beale Street.

"Over the past few weekends, we've seen a significant number of people visit Beale Street," said Paul Young, CEO and President of the Downtown Memphis Commission.

According to data from the Downtown Memphis Commission, on a normal Sunday, about 19,000 people visit Beale Street. For Game 1 against Golden State at home, that number more than doubled to 39,000 people.

“People are coming in,” said Kane. “They're staying in our hotels and enjoying what Memphis has to offer.”

Downtown Memphis hotels are booked and busy. According to Memphis Tourism, Memphis hotels saw a 2.5% increase in bookings earlier this year, compared to 2019. During the playoffs, data shows on average, a +25 percent pickup in hotel stays.

Kane believes the longer the Grizzlies keep playing, the more money Memphis will make.

“The Grizzlies postseason, especially the farther and farther we go in the playoffs, is worth millions of dollars to our economy,” said Kane.

Paul Young, President and CEO of the Downtown Memphis Commission agrees and said that's the boost local businesses need right now.

“Everyone knows how tough the last couple of years had been with COVID and all of the restrictions,” said Young. “This playoff series, it's been great for our businesses and great for our community."

According to Young, the current spotlight on Memphis could linger for years to come, if more investors plant roots here.

“It makes them want to double down on our city and figure out more ways to invest here,” said Young. “Which also impacts the local family because those are more jobs that will be created in the long run."

Playoff games aren't the only events drawing crowds. Memphis in May and the International Blues Challenge has folks flocking downtown. This weekend, Memphis Tourism predicts downtown hotels will be at 80% capacity.

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