July 06, 2004
Oh, yeah, the All-Star Game

And a short break for local news: Hey, guess what, the city of Houston is going to be rolling in money thanks to the All-Star Game!

About 40,000 tickets have been sold for the All-Star Game, Gardner said. State Comptroller Carole Keeton Strayhorn has said at least 29,000 out-of-state fans will come to Texas for the game and related events and spend an average of $316 per day.

And Marketing Information Masters Inc., a consulting firm hired by the Astros, has projected that the All-Star Game will pump $48 million into the local economy. The state will gain $4.3 million in sales tax revenue from that spending, while the city is expected to collect an additional $1.5 million, the consultants said.

But the benefits extend beyond the money, said Jordy Tollett, president of the Greater Houston Convention and Visitors Bureau. The game and other events will be televised in more than 200 countries, he said.

"Every city vies for the All-Star Game and Houston got it," Tollett said. "It means exposure, exposure, exposure."


The Comptroller's Office recently estimated that the All-Star Game and related festivities could bring $85.6 million in economic gain statewide. In contrast, the Super Bowl was expected to generate between $300 million and $336 million statewide.

City officials said verifying how much money flooded into the local economy from the Super Bowl has been difficult because the economy felt an upswing during the period and it's hard to ascribe financial boon solely to the Feb. 1 Super Bowl.

Verifying how much money any sporting event creates can be difficult, said Clark Haptonstall, director of the Sport Management Program at Rice University. But, he added, the games promote host cities and can help create the chance for future economic gain.

"One of the reasons clearly you want to have these events is that it is a good commercial for the city," Haptonstall said.

Okay, in order:

1. There's no way that every single visiting fan is spending (on average) $316 per day. Houston isn't that expensive, and surely some of them are sharing hotel rooms and rental cars. And if that total reflects money spent on All-Star Game tickets and souvenirs, remember that most of that boodle goes straight to Major League Baseball and not to local businesses.

2. Note to Jordy Tollett: Every major league city is supposed to get a chance to host the All Star Game once about every thirty years or so. Every city that's built a new stadium at taxpayer expense has had a chance in recent years. You compete to be a Super Bowl host city. You wait your turn to be an All Star Game host city.

3. If they still can't tell us how much extra revenue the Super Bowl generated five months after the fact, why should we believe any forecasts?

4. If they can't separate Super Bowl money from "the economy felt an upswing" money, why should we believe any forecasts?

5. Yes, I've said all this before.

Coming up next: Why (eventually) hosting an NCAA Men's Basketball Regional at the Toyota Center will bring millions of dollars plus prestige and exposure to the City of Houston! Just bookmark this post for future reference.

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 06, 2004 to Baseball | TrackBack

Perhaps they're including the THG orders made by the players, along with the visits to the "gentlemen's" clubs. ;-)

Posted by: William Hughes on July 6, 2004 2:37 PM

To be fair, I think the $316/person is entirely possible. If you count the high-rollers who fly in on their private jet, stay in the $1,000/night penthouse, rent limos, get the box seats, have dinner in the high-end places, get the little woman a $5,000 tiara... Sure, I can see that.

Posted by: NapalmGod on July 6, 2004 7:42 PM

NapalmGod - Yeah, but how many of them would there have to be to truly affect the average of 29,000 out-of-towners? You're right there will be people like that, I just don't think there will be enough of them.

As I alluded to, and as I said in the discussion of the Super Bowl, I'm convinced they're factoring in ticket prices and ASG merchandise, and I think that leads to a gross overstatement of genuinely local revenue. I'm willing to be proven wrong, but until someone shows me actual metrics from the Super Bowl, it's all hype as far as I'm concerned.

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 6, 2004 8:17 PM