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'Enjoy the run' but don’t expect major economic boost from Canucks playoffs: expert

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A Canadian sports economist is encouraging Canucks fans to enjoy the team’s playoff run, but cautioning against having big expectations around economic spinoffs.

Concordia University professor, Moshe Lander, points out that while bars and restaurants around Rogers Arena will see an influx of enthusiastic fans for home games, the big picture isn’t so rosy.

“Everyone is going to say, of course, the place is packed on Canucks games and so the conclusion then is this is creating a lot of economic activity,” he said. “But if you start going into the malls and start going out to the local sushi restaurants and ask them how they’re doing, they’re going to say, 'wait a minute, we notice there's a decrease in economic activity here.’”

And that’s not just the case in an expensive city like Vancouver, where the high cost of living is putting a squeeze on many residents. Lander says research has found that across sports markets, the amount of spending stays fairly consistent despite playoff excitement – and a night out at the bar will likely be offset by saving money on lunch or other discretionary expenses.

When it comes to workers, he says folks working at arena concessions may bail out of other side hustles, and bars bringing in extra staff for game nights know the “spending hangover” will make other nights of the week slower, requiring fewer personnel.

While out-of-town visitors may bring extra dollars to the city, it’s also likely some prospective travellers will opt to delay a visit to Vancouver or opt for another city without high, playoff-driven hotel prices.

“Just enjoy the run and realize for every group that you find that says 'this is fantastic' you're going to find a group that says this stinks,” Lander advised.

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