Restaurants have cashed in on previous Winter Olympics

During the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia, overall B.C. restaurant revenue increased 6% from the same time the year before. Average revenue for B.C. restaurants increased at twice the rate of their counterparts elsewhere in Canada.

When Vancouver-Whistler hosted the 2010 Winter Olympic Games in February 2010, B.C. restaurants reported an average revenue increase of 15% compared with February 2009. The National Hockey League’s (NHL) absence isn’t the only reason for the restaurant industry’s lack of enthusiasm for the February 9-25 Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games in South Korea .

Ian Tostenson, president and CEO of the BC Restaurant and Food Services Association, said the 17-hour time difference between Vancouver and Seoul and the infrequency of the Winter Olympics also weigh against the appeal and profile of the 2018 event.

But Jeff Guignard, executive director for the Alliance of Beverage Licensees in B.C., said that lack of NHL star power at Pyeongchang won’t deter bars from using the 2018 Games as a marketing opportunity.

“Like all major sporting events, if you run a sports bar it’s definitely good for your sales,” said Guignard.