Sports fans have long enjoyed beer as the beverage of choice while watching their favorite teams compete. It pairs well with arena food and can transform an average night into an energetic experience. What many may not realize, however, is that a team’s performance can directly influence the generosity and beer choices of their fans.
“When the Sabres play well, customers definitely tip better,” said Katherine Glaser, a concessions worker at First Niagara Center.The effect isn’t limited to the fans. Suk Lema, a waitress at First Niagara’s Lexus Club, regularly works with the Sabres’ staff and said the results are similar.
“The [players] are more generous after wins,” said Lema, “they’re happier and more excited at lunches and it shows on the bill.”When asked the reason for this phenomenon, both Glaser and Lema agreed that people with positive attitudes tend to be more lavish with their spending habits. Glaser also said that it’s a matter of urgency.
“When [the Sabres] are winning and fans are buying food, a lot of them leave twenty-dollar bills for $16 purchases,” said Glaser. “They’d rather tip more than wait the extra time for change.”And those tips add up. On a winning night, Glaser said, she receives almost twice the additional income as opposed to nights that end in losses.
Along with the Sabres’ home arena, local bars and restaurants notice the effect as well. Melvin, a bartender at “Indulge,” shared his experience when Buffalo hockey fans witness a loss.
“The mood seems to turn upside down. It’s hard to sell to a group that can’t celebrate and wants to go home,” said Melvin.Although the team’s performance may be less than satisfactory this season, Lema said that fans continue to enjoy their favorite beers at games. She also said the wins now have an even greater affect on spending than ever before.
“The Sabres are really lucky,” said Lema, “even with [their] record, fans come to every game to support them like we were winning every time.”But supporting local restaurants and bars when the Sabres are losing? That's another matter.