With their hometown Broncos missing the playoffs for the past several years, cutting into their bottom line, sports-related businesses in Denver are mounting a fourth-quarter comeback -- thanks to Tim Tebow. The Denver Broncos quarterback has owners of sports bars, restaurants and merchandise stores Tebowing for another miraculous win against the New England Patriots on Saturday. Whether or not the Broncos can pull that off, Tebowmania has already been a huge win for small businesses, which are still bouncing back from the recession and the recent NBA lockout.
Ron Vaughn, co-owner of Denver-based Argonaut Wine & Liquor, has seen a significant increase in business this season, particularly last Sunday before the wildcard playoff game against Pittsburgh, when business increased by about 1,000 customers. "It's been sort of a mass euphoria here in Denver," Vaughn said. "Tebow is the biggest topic of conversation. That's what people are talking about while they're shopping in the store -- how unbelievable it is that they won six games in a row."
Vaughn is attracting customers throwing football parties by running ads and sales, like his "Beat New England" beer specials. Tebow "has been great for business, great for the city," Vaughn said. "There was debate over whether Tebow was the right or wrong guy, but you can't argue with success. And as far as the debate over whether he should keep his [Christian] beliefs private or talk about it as much as he does, as long as he wins, I think he can talk about whatever he wants."
While Jackson's, a popular Denver sports bar, has valiantly fought the recession for three years by getting aggressive with specials, general manager Scot Minshall said the business started noticing a true turnaround as soon as Tebow came to town. "We saw an immediate impact on sales, which have gone nothing but up over the course of the season," Minshall said. According to Minshall, sales during games this season were up 100 percent over last season, and in the wildcard playoff game, sales were up 150 percent. Jackson's had to open two additional rooms last Sunday and is preparing for another big night on Saturday. "We have an all hands on deck mentality," Minshall said. "We're ready."
Minshall also traces the business boom to Tebow. "I'm for the guy. I think the country needs more guys like him who are purely good people," he said. "It's a change of pace, and I think that's the attraction. Instead of cheering for the guy who killed dogs or the guy who's been accused of domestic violence, you're cheering for an all-American, just a great guy, and that's refreshing."
"The Broncos have been awful for going on seven years," Minshall added. "Can you call him the savior of the football team? To some degree, yeah. Is he saving our business? No, but he's making it a lot better, and a lot more fun."