All-Star Game's payoff: Homer or a solid single?

  • Article by: MIKE KASZUBA , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 30, 2012 - 11:11 AM

It's hard to guess the rewards coming to Minneapolis in 2014.

Major League Baseball's All-Star Game almost certainly will boost the local economy and the state's image when it comes to Minnesota in two years, but the impact might be relatively minor and difficult to measure.

Even as Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said on Wednesday that the game would mean at least $75 million in economic impact for Minnesota, local officials differed on the ultimate figure. Minneapolis Downtown Council president Mark Stenglein quickly predicted the impact could reach $110 million.

But Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak was more cautious, adding that "I always use those as very rough guides and never take them literally, because how the heck can you ever estimate what it was?"

Even Twins owner Jim Pohlad said, when it comes to economic impact, "the optimists will say one number, the pessimists will say another."

In announcing that Major League Baseball would play the 2014 game at Target Field, Selig opened an annual debate over how much the game means to a host city. In contrast to the last baseball All-Star Game held in Minnesota, in 1985, Selig said that the event now covers six days of activity sandwiched around the actual game.

Three years after the All-Star Game was held in St. Louis in 2009, Brian Hall of that city's convention and visitors commission said local officials never have verified whether the $60 million estimate in economic impact proved to be accurate.

"There was no post-hoc analysis done," said Hall, the commission's chief marketing officer. "[But] we have every reason to believe that we accomplished the $60 million," he said.

Major League Baseball spokesman Pat Courtney said the league usually leaves the actual figure to the host city, and Meet Minneapolis president Melvin Tennant said on Wednesday that every city uses similar calculations in arriving at its own estimate. Tennant's hospitality association estimated the impact at $75 million but did not -- as Selig did -- speculate the figure could reach $100 million.

Whatever the number, it was met with skepticism by Art Rolnick, a former Federal Reserve researcher in Minneapolis and outspoken critic of public spending on sports venues. Rolnick said that even should the figure be $75 million, it has to be compared to the staggering $280 billion annually that Minnesota produces in gross goods and services.

"If they start telling you how important this is for the state's economy, take that with a grain of salt," he said.

After Kansas City played host to the All-Star Game last month -- an event that left civic officials gushing -- nailing down the estimated $60 million economic impact has been no easy task. A city convention and visitors association spokesman said he hoped to have final figures in a month.

"I never confirmed" anything, added Toby Cook, vice president of community affairs and publicity for the Kansas City Royals, the host team. But "I heard $60 to $70 million, a lot."

Kansas City officials also said that -- as an example of the new ways interest is now measured -- the game was "the most social event in baseball history," with 1.6 million combined Twitter and Facebook comments for both the game and home run derby.

"I'd love to have it back again," said Tom Holden, who heads the Hotel and Lodging Association of Greater Kansas City.

Although Kansas City officials talked of the benefits that the nationally televised game would bring to the city, ratings for the game -- a blowout in favor of the National League -- were down from the game the year before in Phoenix. More fans overall watched the game -- 27.7 million, up 7 percent -- but the percentage of televisions tuned in dropped.

New York City officials, whose Mets will be the host of next year's game, already are estimating $191.5 million in economic impact, adding that 176,239 people will come to the nation's largest city for the mid-summer classic and related events.

Twenty-seven years ago, the All-Star Game was played at Minneapolis' Metrodome, which was then just 3 years old.

At the time, local officials estimated that the game would generate $15 million in economic impact and that Minnesota would get another $100 million in "free publicity" because national TV cameras would feature multiple summer scenes of Minnehaha Falls and aerial shots of the Minneapolis skyline.

In a sign of how the Twins might again try to capitalize on the game, the team in 1985 used the premium of an All-Star Game ticket to sell 5,003 season tickets -- more than double the amount from the year before.

But once the game came and went, there was little focus on what it actually generated.

Larry Abdo, the owner of the Nicollet Island Inn near downtown Minneapolis, said he doubted the All-Star Game would be a big economic winner for local merchants.

"We would be surprised if that game did more than [a] 5 percent or 6 percent increase at the most" in business, he said.

Still, Abdo said the All-Star Game might succeed on a more subtle level, selling viewers and visitors on the notion that the Twin Cities was worth visiting.

"Economically, if you were to get no bump in anything, but just [had] a bump in our reputation, that would be worth having the game here," he said.

Mike Kaszuba • 612-673-4388

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  • Mayor R.T. Rybak, right, joked with Twins owner Jim Pohlad, second from left, and other officials while announcing the 2014 All-Star Game will be at Target Field.

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Washington 0
San Diego 7:25 PM
San Francisco
Minnesota 12/21/14 12:00 PM
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Oakland
Indianapolis 12/21/14 3:25 PM
Dallas
Seattle 12/21/14 7:30 PM
Arizona
Denver 12/22/14 7:30 PM
Cincinnati
Phoenix 99 FINAL
New York 90
Portland 6:00 PM
New Orleans
Utah 6:00 PM
Charlotte
Atlanta 7:00 PM
Houston
San Antonio 7:30 PM
Dallas
Indiana 8:00 PM
Denver
Milwaukee 9:30 PM
LA Clippers
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Los Angeles 1
Colorado 6:00 PM
Buffalo
Philadelphia 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 6:00 PM
Montreal
Washington 6:00 PM
New Jersey
Tampa Bay 6:00 PM
NY Islanders
Florida 6:00 PM
Pittsburgh
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Carolina
Chicago 6:00 PM
Columbus
Nashville 7:00 PM
Minnesota
Calgary 9:00 PM
Vancouver
St. Louis 9:30 PM
San Jose
VA Commonwealth 68 FINAL
Cincinnati 47
Charlotte 78 FINAL
Georgetown 81
SMU 62 FINAL
Michigan 51
Louisville 76 FINAL
Western Ky 67
Mount St Marys 45 FINAL
American Univ 46
Abilene Christian 33 FINAL
Boise State 77
UMass Lowell 63 FINAL
Duquesne 79
South Alabama 65 FINAL
IUPUI 71
Ohio State 74 FINAL
North Carolina 82
Massachusetts 65 FINAL
Providence 85
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Villanova 82
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Binghamton 51
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Fair-Dickinson 76
South Florida 62 FINAL
Florida State 75
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Georgia Tech 65
SC State 71 FINAL
Houston 63
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Illinois 62
Truett-McConnell 55 FINAL
Jacksonville 84
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McNeese State 69
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UNC Greensboro 64
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Penn State 73
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Rutgers 68
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Yale 60
PSU-Beaver 74 FINAL
Longwood 106
Eastern Ill 60 FINAL
Indiana State 56
Indiana 82 FINAL
Butler 73
Marshall 46 2nd Half 3:35
Arkansas State 55
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Kansas 89
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Northwestern 50
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Stephen F Austin 86
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Texas-Arlington 78
UMBC 60 2nd Half 0:54
Kennesaw St 51
St Josephs (IN) 33 2nd Half 10:45
Chicago State 52
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Missouri State 51
UCLA 7 2nd Half
Kentucky 41
UC Davis 25 1st Half 3:28
Air Force 19
Houston Baptist 22 1st Half 2:17
UC Riverside 30
Davidson 41 1st Half 3:22
Coll of Charleston 23
USC Upstate 19 1st Half 3:21
Miss State 15
NC Central 33 1st Half 6:02
Miss Valley St 20
Illinois State 8 1st Half 12:34
Murray State 10
Louisiana 33 1st Half 3:25
Northwestern St 34
Oakland 29 1st Half 2:53
Pittsburgh 23
Detroit 30 1st Half 5:05
Rhode Island 25
Presbyterian 22 1st Half 5:42
UT Martin 25
Monmouth 20 1st Half 6:58
Wagner 18
Southern U 15 1st Half 5:28
Wyoming 19
Iowa State 4:00 PM
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Florida
High Point 4:00 PM
James Madison
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Michigan State
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Manhattan
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Marist
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UNC-Wilmington
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UMKC
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Idaho State
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SE Missouri St 7:30 PM
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BYU
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UNLV
Nevada 3 FINAL
Louisiana 16
Utah State 14 3rd Qtr 3:45
Texas-El Paso 3
(23) Utah 21 2nd Qtr 12:43
Colorado State 10
Western Mich 4:45 PM
Air Force
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Bowling Green
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So Carolina
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UNC Greensboro 81
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St Francis-NY 59
Auburn 49 FINAL
St Johns 56
East Tenn St 56 FINAL
Jacksonville St 57
Western Mich 71 FINAL
Detroit 57
Cal-Irvine 42 FINAL
Wright State 80
Gardner-Webb 47 FINAL
Kennesaw St 50
(7) Stanford 40 FINAL
(11) Tennessee 59
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Ole Miss 71
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Creighton 67
FIU 69 FINAL
Western Carolina 83
Houston 65 FINAL
Nicholls 47
St Thomas Aquinas 45 FINAL
Army 70
St Bonaventure 72 FINAL
Niagara 60
Texas State 57 FINAL
Stetson 75
George Mason 65 FINAL
ULM 53
Grambling 38 FINAL
Kansas State 61
Missouri 79 FINAL
Wake Forest 64
Robert Morris 59 FINAL
Cornell 70
Air Force 44 FINAL
Abilene Christian 80
Hampton 53 FINAL
James Madison 85
American Univ 64 FINAL
MD-Eastern Shore 52
Texas Southern 63 FINAL
TX A&M-CC 68
Tenn Tech 49 FINAL
NC A&T 54
Presbyterian 45 FINAL
NC Central 33
Penn 58 FINAL
Drexel 67
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Xavier 62
Vermont 40 FINAL
Green Bay 60
Charleston Southern 70 FINAL
UNC-Wilmington 80
Ohio Christian 62 FINAL
Akron 97
Jacksonville 62 FINAL
Murray State 80
(17) Rutgers 66 FINAL
Iona 58
Indiana 88 FINAL
Oakland 61
Indiana State 64 FINAL
SMU 55
Denver 51 FINAL
Purdue 65
TX-San Antonio 24 2nd Half 15:50
Texas Tech 30
UCF 45 2nd Half 6:48
Middle Tennessee 68
Campbell 49 2nd Half 11:03
Bethune-Cookman 35
Florida A&M 55 2nd Half 1:58
SE Louisiana 53
Northwestern St 45 2nd Half 6:56
Jackson State 38
Lehigh 59 2nd Half 3:40
Arizona State 74
Valparaiso 44 2nd Half 11:00
SIU-Edwardsville 48
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Minnesota 39
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North Florida 42
Montana State 25 1st Half 2:55
Washington St 40
Marshall 18 1st Half 3:54
(22) West Virginia 23
Morgan State 6 1st Half 14:16
Chattanooga 7
Northeastern 17 1st Half 2:51
Harvard 22
Furman 21 1st Half 0:34
(15) Georgia 24
(18) Michigan State 40 1st Half 3:40
(9) Baylor 28
Ohio U 25 1st Half 3:00
Massachusetts 12
Prairie View 12 1st Half 1:24
Texas-El Paso 43
Toledo 21 2nd Half
Southern Ill 21
High Point 31 1st Half 3:06
(12) Nebraska 36
Winthrop 6 1st Half 3:33
Wichita State 24
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Oral Roberts 5:00 PM
Wisconsin
Florida Atlantic 5:00 PM
New Mexico St
La Salle 5:00 PM
Georgia State
(16) Oregon State 5:30 PM
Nevada
Sacred Heart 6:00 PM
Villanova
Delaware 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Troy 6:00 PM
Tennessee St
Saint Louis 6:30 PM
Utah Valley U
Washington 7:00 PM
UC-Riverside
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Long Beach St
Old Dominion 7:00 PM
Miami-Ohio
Austin Peay 9:00 PM
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Lewis-Clark State 9:00 PM
Idaho
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