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Mayor Sarno joined with Springfield Thunderbirds to Announce $126 million in Economic Impact to Springfield

|   City News

Mayor Domenic J. Sarno joined with Nate Costa, President of the Springfield Thunderbirds, and the UMass Donohue Institute for a special economic impact announcement event at the MassMutual Center on Wednesday, October 11th. State Senators Adam Gomez and Jacob Oliveira, Chief Development Officer Tim Sheehan, Fire Commissioner BJ Calvi, Spirit of Springfield President Judy Matt, Springfield BID Director Michelle Grout, MGM Springfield COO Chris Kelley, and Paul Picknelly and members of the local Thunderbirds ownership group were also in attendance. Representatives from the State Convention Center Authority, the AHL, the ST. Louis Blues organization, and many local restaurants and bars were also there to show their support.

Since the beloved Springfield Thunderbirds first hit the ice thanks in large part to Paul Picknelly and the local ownership group that saved AHL hockey in Springfield. The Thunderbirds have had an overall economic impact of $126 million in Springfield, according to a recent UMass Donahue Institute study. Over the six years since the Thunderbirds have existed, the economic spinoff effect on local businesses, including bars, restaurants, hotels and other amenities gas been positive.

Per the study, 78% of fans attending a game spend money on something other than hockey.  68% of fans patronize a local bar, restaurant or MGM Springfield. 

On the jobs side, the T-Birds employee 236 employees. Those employees have been needed as the average attendance under the current ownership group and Thunderbirds front office has significantly increased since the days of the Springfield Falcons which averaged about 3,000 fans a game. According to the Donahue study, attendance jumped to 4,644 in the Thunderbirds first year and most recently during the 2022-23 season averaged 6,162 in attendance - a record in the 80-year history of professional hockey in Springfield.

Those attending home games at the MassMutual Center aka the 'Thunderdome' are diverse and make up all ages, which reflects positively on how the local ownership group and front office is marketing this family-friendly experience and entertainment.  Theme nights and celebrity appearances are also a big hit.  From Pink in the Rink to Teddy Bear Toss and Military Appreciation Day, there is something for everyone.

With a new state-of-the-art parking garage currently under construction at the site of the former Civic Center garage, the electric energy from game nights will only intensify.    

Mayor Sarno states, “I don’t really need an economic impact study as I know first-hand the tremendous and positive economic impact our Springfield Thunderbirds have had upon our Springfield, especially our downtown. The economic spinoff effect to local businesses, restaurants and hotels has been outstanding. In addition, the T-Birds have been an incredible moral boost for our city, especially during the playoffs! I want to thank Nate Costa and his team, along with Paul Picknelly and our local ownership group for their continued belief and investment in our Springfield. Special thanks to Chris Kelley and the MGM Springfield team for their continued partnership supporting our T-Birds. During away games and especially during their Calder Cup playoff run, the MGM Plaza was alive and roaring as they showed our beloved T-Birds play on the big screen. So come on down and let's cheer on our T-Birds! As a proud and longtime season ticket owner, I'll see you Saturday evening as we kickoff the season.”

Page last updated:  Tuesday, March 1, 2022 01:32 pm