estimates the Pirates’ first winning season in 21 years brought about $200 million in direct spending to the local economy. That figure includes ticket sales, concessions, hotel rooms and outside-the-park spending on retail and meals.
VisitPittsburgh arrived at the figure through applying its own formulas to financial information the Pirates voluntarily shared with the local tourism organization.
“The average game brings about $2.5 million to the city,” says VisitPittsburgh President and CEO Craig Davis. “Because the figure reflects ticket sales, we collected a lot of zip code information from 100 miles away or more. That often means a night in a hotel.”
Of all the fans who attended games at PNC Park this year, about 19 percent were from at least 100 miles away. While there were no available figures to project the impact of a playoff game, Davis anticipates it would bring more than just the $2.5 million per-game average.
Despite their sudden turnaround, the Pirates ranked 19 out of 30 teams in Major League Baseball attendance this year, drawing an average of 28,210 fans per game and a total of 2,256,862. They sold out PNC Park a record 23 times.
On a per-game basis, they still don’t touch the Steelers. But baseball teams play 81 home games compared to football’s ten.
According to figures VisitPittsburgh released in 2011
, the Steelers’ divisional playoff game against the Baltimore Ravens that January generated about $19.2 million in direct spending. Even applying that generous figure to an entire season’s worth of football games shows the Pirates generate more per season in direct spending for the local economy than their North Shore neighbors.
However, Davis adds that some of the economic impact sporting events have on the economy depends on when they occur.
“There are periods during the year when they don’t have as much of an impact. If there are already things buzzing in the city, it’s a lower-impact thing,” he says.
Writer: Matthew Wein
Source: Craig Davis