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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Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

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San Francisco - WP: M. Bumgarner 8 FINAL
Pittsburgh - LP: E. Volquez 0
Minnesota 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 1 FINAL
Buffalo 6
Carolina 3 FINAL
Columbus 6
Pittsburgh 2 FINAL
Detroit 0
Montreal 3 FINAL
Chicago 1
Arizona 2 FINAL
Edmonton 3
Fla Atlantic 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Hamilton 10/10/14 6:00 PM
Toronto
Ottawa 10/11/14 9:00 PM
Brt Columbia
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