Detroit Tigers Opening Day brought an estimated 200,000 people — and between $5 million and $6 million in spending — to Detroit last Friday.
And for the entire weekend, which included three Tigers games and a Detroit Red Wings home game, the economic impact for the city was between $13 million and $15 million, according to estimates from the Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau.
Estimates are based on total direct spending within the stadium’s vicinity, including restaurants, taxis and hotels, according to Deanna Majchrzak, the bureau’s media relations manager.
A detailed breakdown of the formula used to calculate its estimate was not disclosed and may have been driven by what’s known to sports economists as the “substitution effect” — spending that replaces other spending in the city versus new spending purely on the Tigers. In other words, money spent on beer and merchandise at Comerica Park is money not being spent elsewhere downtown, or in other city.
In 2012, the bureau estimated the Tigers home games generated $285 million to $300 million in total direct spending in the city.
A typical sold-out Tigers game brings 45,000 people downtown; a Red Wings game usually draws 20,000, Majchrzak said.
The Detroit Buffalo Wild Wings in Greektown marked its first Opening Day, and since the restaurant opened in December it “was the busiest day we’ve had so far,” according to Dave Curtis, managing partner at the largest BWW in the country.
Curtis said Friday’s final sales cashed in just shy of $60,000 – the third busiest day ever for BWW across all locations nationwide. The No. 1 single-day sales for the company is about $73,000, Curtis said.
Rub BBQ Pub manager Omar Mitchell said it was the restaurant’s biggest-ever Opening Day, with sales tripling previous Opening Days. Rub is across the street from Comerica Park.
“Folks were ready to get back downtown and start celebrating a new Tigers season,” Mitchell said.
The Tigers did their part to fuel that celebration, winning two of the three games in the home opening series against the Yankees.
Ryan Felton, Crain’s Detroit Business.