Empire State Games Fuel Local Economy

July 22, 2010 Updated Jul 22, 2010 at 11:39 PM EDT

By WKBW News

July 22, 2010 Updated Jul 22, 2010 at 11:39 PM EDT

More than six thousand athletes participating in the Empire State Games in Buffalo not without their family and friends to cheer them on. That's all good news for local businesses.

"They're coming from all over the state!" said Tony Caruana, general Manager of Zetti's.

Zetti's on Maple Road minutes away from the UB campus flooded with people connected to the games. Workers quickly twirling pizza dough to keep up with the demand.

"It's a steady flow since we opened up this morning it started all with the opening ceremonies yesterday," said Caruana.

Deb McGwin making the trip to the games from Rochester to cheer on her daughter in the swim competition.

"She's playing for the western region," said McGwin.

Word of mouth on the best places to go goes along way with people grabbing a fast bite to eat between competitions.

"We were here a few nights with the girls after practice last week and through practice this week it's just a great restaurant to be at. Quick and easy,"

Hotel staff tell us they're booked solid for the week.

"We got in town yesterday afternoon for the opening ceremonies," said Chris Burke a resident of Syracuse.

We found this group of people here for the games making sure they got a taste of their Buffalo favorites.

"You know when in Buffalo you got to have wings!"

The games cancelled last year due to lack of money. But First Niagara bank bringing them back. And after two years of planning. The host city benefiting as the economy inches back to normal.

"I think one of the values that we bring here is we get to spend our dollars to help keep the economy moving forward which is what we all need nowadays," said Phil Evangelista

Organizers estimate the economic impact in Buffalo and the surrounding area could be anywhere from $10 to 15 million.
They based those numbers on the games over the past few years.