Packer mania brings extra green and gold to businesses

Packer fans celebrating at Caffrey's after Super Bowl XLV. Photo by Emily Waller / Emily.Waller@Marquette.edu

The Packers Pro Shop wasn’t the only place profiting off Green Bay’s successes, as the Packers’ Super Bowl XLV championship run provided extra opportunities for Milwaukee bars and restaurants to cash in on the home team hype.

With each passing week and victory, promotion of the Super Bowl champions made loyal supporters turn into paying customers.

Jimmy McGuire, general manager of Murphy’s Irish Pub, said the mere fact Green Bay made it to the Super Bowl made for gainful Sundays that wouldn’t have happened otherwise.

“With the Packers in, we’ll pull in a couple hundred to over a grand more,” McGuire said. “If they weren’t, it’d be just another Sunday on campus because people usually hold Super Bowl parties at home.”

The playoffs were similar at Caffrey’s Pub, said its general manager Doug Daul.

“We definitely get double the sales, sometimes triple,” Daul said. “It’s hard to compare because we wouldn’t be open long during a regular Sunday.”

As a business strategy, bars aimed to attract more people by advertising specials with hopes to retain future customers. Free touchdown shots, free pizza and cheap pitchers were among the most popular promotions.

At Replay Sports Bar, 2238 N. Farwell Ave., the Super Bowl dining started early with a “kegs and eggs” breakfast menu, said Abby Lutgen, marketing director of the Roaring Fork Restaurant Group, who operate Replay.

The Union Sports Annex tweeted its specials, and held contests to give away three-pound sets of wings to students. According to restaurant manager Joe Maiorelle, the Packers’ success brought fans that usually wouldn’t go to the Annex because Packers fans can get all their games on local channels.

“During the year we get mostly Bears fans because we have NFL Sunday Ticket,” Maiorelle said. “But because of the Packers’ Super Bowl run we double our profits and get an extra half of the crowd back after wards.”

Maiorelle said he hopes the turnout will overlap onto next season, and a quarter of returning customers is the end goal.

At Major Goolsby’s, 340 W. Kilbourn Ave., luring customers back came in the form of gift certificate giveaways during each quarter. Betsy Darnieder, Major Goolsby’s general manager, said the Packers’ role in the big game meant triple the amount of people and triple the sales.

Still, in Milwaukee, the greatest response came from the NFC Championship game, since the city serves somewhat as a Mason-Dixon line between Packers and Bears loyalties.

“The Bears-Packers game was the biggest game I’ve ever seen (at Major Goolsby’s),” Darnieder said.

On campus, Daul said the dichotomy was clear.

“It’s kind of funny because MU has such a large population of Chicago students, during the NFC Championship game it felt like Caff’s was the Packers bar and Murph’s was the Chicago bar,” Daul said.

Overall, the success of a hometown team leaves the greatest impact on business because of the additional games played.

“(At Replay), we joked around that we picked a great year to open a Wisconsin sports bar because of the Rose Bowl and Super Bowl,” Lutgen said. “The energy is so different when your home team is still playing. Otherwise, we’d probably be talking about the Brewers and Zach Greinke right now.”