Twenty-three years after baseball royalty fell on Denver, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game returns to Coors Field.
But things are very different this time.
Colorado is trying to emerge from a global pandemic, the local economy needs a shot in the arm, and the decision to move the game to Denver is flooded with politics, with Major League Baseball officials recently pulling it from Atlanta. MLB made the move in response to a new law on voting in Georgia that raised concerns among civil rights groups that voting rights for people of color would be restricted.
On Tuesday, when it was officially announced that the Rockies would be hosting the 91
Police and Denver Mayor Michel Hancock lobbied to land the game and proclaimed the economic benefits of having it in Denver, which Hancock estimated would result in an economic impact north of $ 100 million.
“This is a great relief to our economy here in Colorado,” Polis said. “This is a crucial turning point, not only for our return to normalcy (from COVID), but for highlighting Denver and Colorado nationally and showcasing some of the most amazing talent coming to Colorado.”
MLB said it chose Denver because the city had already submitted a plan to host a future All-Star game and be able to quickly prepare for this year’s game.
“All of this was moving very fast,” Hancock said. “What usually takes months or a matter of years to happen happened in a matter of days.”
Information about the ticket price, how fans can buy them and what other events will coincide with the game is still being worked out, the Rockies said. The annual MLB Amateur Draft is held for the first time during the All-Star festivities.
Polis and Hancock both said Rockies owner Dick Monfort was “dead-focused” on getting the game moved from Atlanta to Denver.
“When you look at the final expenses, it’s probably going to be a little over $ 100 million,” said Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver.
When Denver last hosted the game in 1998, the game brought in about $ 40 million in expenses and other economic activity. Economists and tourism officials said the city has much more to offer and more ways to get visitors to spend than it did back then.
Benefits will not be limited to just local spending, said Patricia Silverstein, chief economist with development research partners at Littleton. Many trips will turn into extended vacations that attract dollars throughout the state, especially the mountain areas.
“Additionally, events like this increase awareness of Metro Denver, which may mean that the region is considered / reconsidered for a business location or an expansion,” she said.
Richard Scharf, CEO of Visit Denver, estimates that the value of television and social media exposure that the city receives could be worth an additional $ 100 million, based on the cost of purchasing comparable flight time. Coming after a long break from the journey, the exposure is highly valued in an attempt to win tourists.
“It seems that consumers have the captured demand. There is a great desire to go to events like the All-Star Game, travel, go to restaurants and otherwise be public, ”said Nick Sly, an economist who oversees the Denver branch of the Kansas City Federal Reserve Bank. .
The game will benefit the sector of the economy most negatively affected by the pandemic – leisure and hospitality – as well as one of the hardest hit areas – downtown Denver. Especially hotels, restaurants and retailers around Coors Fields have the most to gain.
“This unexpected event will be a huge boost for the hospitality industry, which took the brunt of the crushing blow that COVID-19 gave our economy. Thousands of visitors will gather to celebrate America’s pastime in the Mile High City, ”said Walter Isenberg, president and CEO of Sage Hospitality Group, which manages several hotels near the ballpark.
Isenberg said it will give Denver a chance to show the world that it is ready to safely welcome visitors again.
“I’m very happy. It’s changing the plans for that week and I want to make sure it’s all on my hands on the deck,” said Angela Neri, owner of Pony Up, a bar and restaurant located on 18th Street and Blake. My biggest thing as an operator is to make sure I’m in stock and ready. “
Neri said that storage not only means food and drink, but having enough trained staff on hand. She is currently running to half of her normal staff given demand. Many of those she had to let go of during various closures have since moved on. Restaurants across the board are encrypting to rearrange, retrain and rebuild.
A key test for the city’s hospitality industry will be the ability to provide a memorable experience in a great way to those who come into the game. And the clock is ticking.
The Rockies’ Bud Black, who has spent 15 years in the majors as a player and is in his 14th season as manager, was thrilled with the news.
“I’m excited about Colorado. I’m excited about Denver. I’m excited about baseball fans in this region, ”he said. “I’m excited about baseball fans all over the country to come and see our big city.”
Black called the All-Star Game “great party and great fanfare.”
“It’s a wonderful, wonderful three days,” Black continued. “I know our city will embrace it. I know the Rockies organization will be holding a great show. ”
Denver last hosted the All-Star Game on July 7, 1998 in Coors Field’s fourth year of existence. It was a memorable event. A sold-out crowd of 51,231 saw the U.S. league beat the National League 13-8 in the highest-scoring All-Star game in history.