The Toronto Raptors run to the NBA finals is being felt in Kelowna.
Sports bars, restaurants, pubs and lounges have been feeling the heat in business since the playoffs started, but it has picked up even more since the team has made it to the finals.
“It’s doubled in size,” said manager Jill Roy, at The Train Station Pub.
“People come in as early as 4:30 p.m. before the game and stay well after the game. It has definitely picked up (since the finals started) and we’ve filled the entire place for games.”
Even the popular downtown locations, that are starting to feel the heat from summer business, have seen a larger increase due to the games. Where hockey and baseball have been the usual draw to pubs for fans, the Raptors’ run is breaking boundaries.
“It’s been building game by game, and we’ve never had that for basketball,” said Kelly O’Bryan’s manager Rich Willis.
“Game three had a private party on the rooftop which took up all the TVs for the game. People are calling and making reservations to make sure they can get a seat, and that they can watch the game.”
The Raptors’ run has added to the rush of fans using the ‘WeTheNorth’ hashtag on their social media and tagging their local watering-holes as the place where west coast fans can watch Canada’s team.
Glenn Smith, manager at Kelowna’s Canadian Brewhouse & Grill, said that the restaurant was at capacity for the Raptors’ game three win over the Golden State Warriors.
“Definitely been busier. We’re packed for all the Raptors games. We’ve given away three jerseys, and we’re giving away a fourth at the final game,” Smith said.
Other Kelowna hot spots during the finals have been Dakoda’s Sports Bar, XChange Kelowna and Earls.
Game four of the finals is tonight.