Cleveland Cavaliers watch parties benefit local charities, more than $2 million donated

CLEVELAND - If you’ve ever been to a Cleveland Cavaliers watch party at Quicken Loans Arena during the NBA Playoffs or the Finals, you know it’s as close to being a regular home game as it can be — just without the players.

“It’s weird to say this, but you actually forget the team is not on the court, because we have the player introductions, we have the flames, we do the dance teams, the mascots, everything you would naturally expect from a home game,” said Tracy Marek, the Cavs’ chief marketing officer.

This is the third year the Cavs are hosting watch parties at The Q while the team is on the road during the playoffs, and for the third year, 100 percent of the ticket proceeds are donated to local charities. This year and last, the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity has been a donation recipient, receiving $875,000 last year, the nonprofit’s largest donation ever.

“The Cavs do things in a big way, and they did that for Cleveland Habitat as well,” said John Habat, president and CEO of the Greater Cleveland Habitat for Humanity.

“When you become a habitat homeowner, it’s a blessing,” Habat said. “The average payment last year, including taxes, insurance, and principle was $427 a month. You cannot even get substandard housing for that, let alone a new house.”

For Tia Peoples, it truly is a blessing. The working mother of two young boys will move into their Habitat for Humanity home on the city’s east side soon. The home has been rehabbed from top to bottom, from a new roof and basement, to new flooring and kitchen.

Peoples said to her, home ownership means stability.

“Because at the end of the day, you always have someplace to come back to and then you have something to leave to your children,” Peoples said. “So being able to leave something to them and being able to provide a stable environment for them, that means a lot to me.”

The nonprofit Say Yes to Education is the other beneficiary for the 2018 season. So far, more than $100,000 has been raised.

The Cavs have donated more than $2 million over the last three years to local charities.

Tickets to the Cavaliers playoff watch parties cost $5. You can get tickets here.

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