Seahawks mean big business; stores, restaurants cash in on playoff run
From jerseys to Jell-O shots, the Seahawks are big business in Seattle.
Seattle Times business reporter
Top-selling player jerseys
1. Peyton Manning, Broncos
2. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
3. Tom Brady, Patriots
4. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
5. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
11. Richard Sherman, Seahawks
14: Seahawks 12th Fan
16: Marshawn Lynch, Seahawks
Top-selling team merchandise
1. Seattle Seahawks
2, Dallas Cowboys
3. Denver Broncos
4. New England Patriots
5. Green Bay Packers
Source: NFL, sales fromApril 1 through Dec. 31, 2014
The lovefest between the Seahawks and their die-hard 12th Man means big bucks for the city — especially during home playoff games.
Hotels, which usually struggle during Seattle’s winter months, are above 90 percent occupancy. Restaurants and bars throughout the region are packed. Pizza-delivery drivers are out in droves. And fans are shopping.
Seahawks merchandise tops the best-seller list on NFLshop.com and the 12th Man is snatching up everything from infinity scarves on Etsy.com to arm socks from Fred Meyer and 12th Fan cupcakes.
David Blandford of Visit Seattle estimates last Saturday’s game against the Carolina Panthers and this Sunday’s NFC Championship matchup against the Green Bay Packers will pump at least $6 million into the local economy.
The true economic impact, he says, “would undoubtedly be much more.”
Down the street from CenturyLink Field, Bill Weise had agents ready to answer the phones at the Silver Cloud Hotel Seattle — Stadium in April when the NFL announced the 2014 schedule. The hotel is the prime location for out-of-towners who want to be at the center of the excitement on game day and locals who want to avoid the traffic.
“We had a huge influx of people booking out through the 16th and 17th game of the season,” said Weise, who has added 10 bellhops and servers for the hotel and restaurant Jimmy’s on First for the playoffs. “We like those kinds of fans.”
Because the city went through this postseason burst last year, businesses were prepared this season.
For example, local restaurants Wing Dome and Pagliacci Pizza ordered extra supplies and have “all hands on deck.” Other restaurants and bars are chilling Jell-O shots and are hawking $12 food specials.
During last week’s game, Pagliacci was 50 percent more busy than a typical Saturday. The chain, which has 24 locations around Puget Sound, will have 200 drivers working Sunday and start four hours earlier than usual.
Pagliacci is giving away a Cupcake Royale 12th Fan cupcake with deliveries during Sunday’s game.
The crews at Cupcake Royale — which also supplies CenturyLink Field and Metropolitan Market — will be baking and frosting thousands of preordered cupcakes Friday and Saturday night. The local business says sales increase 50 to 60 percent during home games.
Dennis Strickland, regional manager at Wing Dome’s two locations — one in Kirkland and the other in Greenwood, said the restaurant has received orders for up to 10 pounds of chicken wings for people to pick up for parties. A typical order would be about 2 pounds, he said.
Business during last Saturday’s home game, Strickland said, approached last year’s Super Bowl game day, the biggest day of the year for the company. He thinks they will be even busier Sunday.
“People naturally gravitate toward pizza, beer and hot wings when football is on,” he said.
Some retailers have been preparing for months.
“We learned from last year that we needed to bring in all the apparel products earlier in the fall,” Fred Meyer and QFC spokeswoman Melinda Merrill said in an email.
A couple of the best-sellers, she said, are Seahawks ladies capri yoga pants, arm socks and “Skittles, of course.” Fred Meyer has enjoyed double-digit increases in sales of Skittles — the favorite treat of star running back Marshawn Lynch — this football season.
As soon as the Seahawks took down the Panthers 31-17 last week, Marysville resident Katie Mattison received a flood of orders for her Seahawks infinity scarves on Etsy.com.
Mattison, 29, has a full-time job as a tech-support specialist for Premera Blue Cross. She started making scarves when the official Seahawks fabric came last summer. Since then she has made more than 350, and between Saturday and Tuesday she received 44 orders. The scarves sell for $15.
“I’ve had a few Green Bay and a couple Patriot orders,” she said. “But I prioritize the Seahawks.”
To keep up with demand for official Seahawks gear, the Seahawks opened two more pro shops after last season, one at The Landing in Renton and the other at Alderwood mall in Lynnwood. It also opened two seasonal stores — one in Tacoma and one in Bellevue.
Seahawks spokeswoman Suzanne Lavender said gross revenue for Seahawks merchandise has increased about 27 percent compared with last season.
Lavender said the most popular product online is the green and gray Seahawks knit cap from New Era.
The Seahawks also have four jerseys in the top 25 in terms of sales via the NFLshop.com. Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson was in second place as of Dec. 31 — the latest data available — behind Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning.