SANTA CRUZ, Calif.- It was a big night for the Santa Cruz Warriors on Thursday as they reached the 2013 NBA D-League Finals. While they lost to the Rio Grande Valley Vipers 112 to 102, fans packed into Kaiser Permanente Arena to cheer them on.
So what about the impact the warriors are having on the local economy? We went to find out.
The SC Warriors said they needed to win this first game in the finals, to have a better chance of winning the championship. But win or lose, nearby businesses said their fans are pumping more money into the city.
"We get the pre-game rush and the after game rush," said Surf Dog employee J.C.
J.C. said the Santa Cruz Warriors are giving the city a big boost. But he said it's also a double-edged sword.
"There a lot of traffic in the afternoons for those commuters and stuff like that. I always ride my bike, so it doesn't really affect me so much. But I see it," said J.C.
Parking is still a big issue for businesses too. J.C. said on game night, streets are packed with cars, making it harder for customers to get to local businesses. But the extra dollars from fans do pay off. Fans said the dollars spent right here inside the area, trickle out the doors and down the street to other businesses that will benefit.
"It's done a lot. It's brought a lot of people that probably wouldn't have come otherwise. I've heard a lot of businesses are getting a lot of business after the games," said SC Warriors fan Steven Diaz.
SC Warriors general manager Kirk Lacob said that was part of the plan all along.
"Being able to walk down Pacific Avenue and there be people all over the place. I had dinner pre-game at Chianti's and the place is completely packed with Santa Cruz Warriors gear all over the place. It's a really pretty cool sight to see," said general manager Kirk Lacob.
Thursday night's game was the last home game of the season for the Warriors. On Friday they head to Texas to continue playing the Rio Grande Valley Vipers.