As soon as NBA megastar LeBron James announced in July that he was returning to play for the Cleveland Cavaliers under a two-year, $42.1 million contract, the numbers started going up. We're not talking about points on the scoreboard or victories on the court . . . We're talking money.
The return of the native son—James grew up in Akron and played for the Cavaliers from 2003 to 2010—is being felt in more places than the Cavs' ticket office. Local businesses are jumping for joy. Literally.
"When I heard the news, I started jumping up and down a few times," said Sean O'Donnell of Flannery's Pub, located right near the Cavaliers' home at Quicken Loans Arena. "We have to hire more staff for the fall because of this. There's definitely a hiring blitz going on. My staff will go up by a third, now I know LeBron is coming."
"LeBron is a walking economy," added Nick Kostis, managing member of Pickwick & Frolic, a theater-and-restaurant complex about four blocks from the arena. Kostis suggested a 10 percent to 12 percent rise in hospitality revenues, based on what they lost during th years James had fled to Miami.