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Rangers fans hoping for Stanley Cup glory spend big in NYC

Fans cheer during the national anthem before Game

Fans cheer during the national anthem before Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at Madison Square Garden on Thursday, May 29, 2014. Photo Credit: Jim McIsaac

The Rangers may be down two games in the Stanley Cup Final, but revenue in bars and restaurants is up from having the team battle against the Los Angeles Kings for the championship.

Amped-up fans are pouring into the city's pubs to catch the Rangers fight for their first Stanley Cup victory in 20 years. A Stanley Cup Final game in New York City generates $10.7 million from ticket sales, transit, restaurants and hospitality, according to the city's Economic Development Corp.

"New York bars love when New York teams are in the championship series," said Andrew Rigie of the New York City Hospitality Alliance.

Bar owners and managers -- many Rangers fans, themselves -- around the Blueshirts' home at Madison Square Garden have been preparing their Stanley Cup deals and increasing security and staff.

"We've had about 50% more people than we usually do," said Tom Dwyer, owner of the Blarney Rock on 33rd Street who lives in Hawaii and flew into the city for the series. "We've got extra staff, extra servers, extra security, extra beer."

Even New Yorkers outside the hospitality industry are trying to make cash off the games. Deirdre O'Hea, a 50-year-old window painter from Island Park, L.I., who has been unemployed, said she has gotten gigs creating sports designs for bars.

"I'm doing a lot of Rangers windows and going through a lot of red, white and blue," she said.

Game 3 Monday night will be the first of the series held at MSG, meaning surrounding establishments will see a crush of Rangers fans -- hopefully in good spirits if the Rangers record their first win in the series.

"It's going to be huge," said Bob Smith, manager at Jack Dempsey's on West 33rd Street who grew up a Rangers fan in New York City. "It's been 20 years, so we've got a whole new generation of Rangers fans."

"Rangers fans are good," Smith added. "It won't be like having Philly fans in here."

Even when the Rangers are away in L.A., fans have been catching the games outside their homes. Thousands of people decked out in blue and red packed into Bryant Park for a viewing party of Game 1 Wednesday sponsored by the Rangers.

Dan Biederman, president and co-founder of the Bryant Park Corporation and 34th Street Partnership, said there is a "real possibility" that another viewing party could be held, saying they'd host it again "in a minute, if given a chance." (An MSG spokeswoman said another viewing event is not planned.)

"I'm sure all the merchants are hoping it goes the full seven [games]," Biederamn said. "I'm impressed by this new trend that people want to watch communally. ... It's more spending than if [fans] were sitting at home eating Cheez Doodles," he added.

The Dolan family owns controlling interests in the Knicks, MSG and Cablevision. Cablevision owns amNewYork.


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