Many St. Louis Cardinals fans think about ticket sales and game attendance in the context of their relationship to its most visible element – the club’s player payroll. The more negative members of the team’s followers see the opportunity for ownership to increase profit-taking at the expense of fielding a competitive roster.
In 2009, improved results at the turnstile translated into an improved team on the field as the organization took on considerable incremental salary in adding veterans Mark DeRosa and Matt Holliday this summer, quieting the most vocal critics in the process.
There is also another perhaps less obvious, but more widespread by-product – the impact of the team on the economy of the entire region. One example is increased spending in and more jobs created by the hospitality and entertainment-related industries.
Over the winter, the effect of the nation’s economic downturn was still being understood. Not unlike many businesses, the Cardinals tamped back their 2009 revenue projections. This took the primary form of an estimate of 3,000,000 tickets to be sold on the heels of a paid attendance total of 3,432,917 the previous season.
With a competitive team, 2009 ticket sales are above those initial estimates, currently at 3.2 million. As a result, the St. Louis Regional Chamber and Growth Association (RCGA) have raised their projection of the economic impact of the team on the St. Louis region, reports the St. Louis Business Journal.
The RCGA’s chief economist has bumped up their impact estimate by $18 million, from $280 million to $298 million. Another 100,000 tickets sold would increase the impact another $10 million to $308 million. That does not include potential playoff games.
This summer’s MLB All-Star festivities pumped another $60 million into the regional economy, says the RCGA.
These most significant amounts serve as a concrete reminder that a strong baseball team really does have an impact on its region’s economy.
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