PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Despite being miles away from Gillette Stadium, business was booming in Providence over the weekend as Tom Brady made his much-anticipated return to New England.
John Gibbons, the executive director of the Rhode Island Sports Commission, said the showdown between Brady and his former team brought in thousands of football fans from across the country.
“This weekend as a special weekend,” he said.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers themselves even spent the weekend in a Providence hotel.
“I think the impact, especially from the team and also the people that came to visit for the game, is probably double what it normally is,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons said it wasn’t just Brady’s return that brought in business. Other events, such as WaterFire, were also taking place.
“You had all of these things happening at a time of year where it’s still nice to travel to Rhode Island in early October,” he said.
Providence hotels were completely booked, and restaurants were taking reservations well in advance of the weekend.
“We know just from calling around the hotels, the city was sold out Friday night, the city was sold out Saturday night,” Gibbons said.
Gibbons said the Capitol Grille, which is located across the street from the R.I. Sports Commission, began taking reservations as soon as the New England Patriots’ schedule came out.
“They filled right up,” he said of the restaurant. “They were taking reservations well into the night and turning tables over multiple times.”
It wasn’t just Providence that experienced a boost in business.
“There were lots of activities, lots of choices of things to do both inside and outside [of the city],” Dale Venturini, president and CEO of the Rhode Island Hospitality Association said.
Newport was especially busy, according to Venturini, since the city was hosting the Audrain Newport Concours and Motor Week, which typically draws thousands from across the country to the City by the Sea.
“People are coming out now. They are staying in our hotels and eating in our restaurants,” Venturini said. “It’s bringing consumer confidence … people are starting to feel more comfortable [venturing out].”