Economists cry foul on state’s All-Star Game revenue projections


Aerial views at sunrise of an empty Coors Field during this rather different baseball season (photo credit: Jamie Rogers)

DENVER (KDVR) — Denver will be in the spotlight of the baseball world this summer, with the 2021 All-Star Game officially set to return to the Mile High City. 

With that game will come a much-needed economic boost, but how much remains difficult to predict. On Tuesday, Gov. Jared Polis said the state’s Office of Economic Development and International Trade was estimating $190M in revenue from the All-Star Game and associated events on the week of July 13.

“That’s pretty high,” Mac Clouse said. “One hundred million, which we’ve heard from some other predictors, is even high as well.”

Clouse is a Professor of Finance at the University of Denver, and expects the pandemic to have a significant impact on those figures.

“It’s not like June and July come, we can immediately think we’re back to the same old tourism numbers and people’s willingness to travel, and ability to even travel,” he says. “It’s going to be a substantial boost, just not that big.”

MSU Denver professor Kishore Kulkarni expects the impact to fall somewhere between $50M and $80M, depending on how many people are allowed at the game and in surrounding hotels, bars, and restaurants.

“The pandemic is not making things easy,” he said of the prediction. “Even in the peacetime, we’d probably get to 100 million, not any more than that.”

Kulkarni says economic impacts focus not just on where a dollar is spent, but where it ends up. 

For example, if you spend a dollar at a Denver hotel, the hotel gives it to an employee, who might spend it at a Denver restaurant. 

He said pandemic closures make it very difficult to predict how far that dollar will travel, and what the true economic impact of an event will be. 

“We just do not know what’s going to happen by July 13, he says. “I think time will tell the real impact of it, but if someone tells you they know the exact figure, they are outright lying to you.” 

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