Not only will professional baseball’s Midsummer Classic provide Denver a much-needed economic boost, it shines a national spotlight here right when summer travel plans are being set.
That’s according to city leaders anxious to showcase downtown Denver and welcome back tourists and visitors who were forced to stay home during the 2020 pandemic. Denver Mayor Michael Hancock’s office estimated the 5-day event could bring up to $100 million.
“It’s going to great for everyone in Denver, to be honest,” said Patrick Walsh, General Manager of McGregor Square. “Obviously, it brings a lot of attention to LoDo and Denver and gives us a chance to showcase everything for the whole country.”
McGregor Square is the new development by Colorado Rockies owner Dick Monfort which includes a hotel, condominiums, office space and plenty of retail with restaurants. It’s across the street from Coors Field, where the 91st MLB All-Star Game will be played July 13.
“It’s great timing and a chance to let people see what we’ve been working on for the last four or five years,” Walsh said. “After the announcement, we got a lot of calls from our new residents seeing if they could get a move in date scheduled.”
Richard Scharf, president and CEO of Visit Denver, said getting a national, multi-day, event like the All-Star game as the city is opening up again post-pandemic is “extra special.”
“The last time we had an All-Star game in 1998, 103,000 people went through the convention center,” he said. “We’re forecasting that same number.”
Scharf noted that July is a popular time for family vacations, and “we’re perceived as an outdoor city and state, so we’re anticipating a strong summer visitor season.”
“There’s also going to be a lot of indirect spending, so that will start to ramp up business activity and employ more people,” he said.
“This really makes it a good news story,” Scharf said. “We were on the road to recovery, and we always knew 2021 is going to be a transition year … All last year was cancellations and re-bookings. Now it’s all about making it happen.”
The Downtown Denver Partnership (DDP) tracked 107,000 people in the Coors Field vicinity during Opening Day last week.
“This is real dollars pouring into our city,” said Tami Door, CEO of the DDP. “I mean that’s like bringing the city of Boulder into downtown Denver.”
Large-scale events draw people to Denver from all around the state and region, Door said, even those who aren’t attending the game itself.
“It sends an extremely strong message that we’re open and thriving … it’s going to spawn a whole new group of people who will fall in love with our city,” Door said. “People are eager to travel, and eager to get out a do something. The strong message we’re sending is ‘whether you’re coming to the game or not, Denver is ready for you’.”
Scharf said they’ve already seen more convention bookings, including a volleyball tournament in May, the Outdoor Retailers event returning, the Beer Association’s conference (unfortunately not the Great American Beer Festival) and others.
“There’s definitely light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “There are real reasons to come to Colorado and Denver, and the Rockies are always on people’s list.”