DENVER — The All-Star Game and surrounding events mean big money for many businesses in Denver.
According to past data from Major League Baseball, Denver could gain anywhere from $60 million to $90 million from All-Star Week.
In 2013, New York City gained a whopping $191 million from the events. Los Angeles brought in $89 million in 2020, even as the coronavirus pandemic kept travel and business to a minimum.
Matt Van Sistine, executive director at Ballpark Collective, said the All-Star Game was a great opportunity for the city and neighborhood.
The four-block festival in the neighborhood, which was large enough that it likely would have taken a year to plan, was pulled together in 30 days, he said. It included more than 20 food trucks, food vendors, and artisans.
"The whole goal with this event was to bring together community be a landing spot for the local Denver crowd, the local Colorado — people to come in enjoy the festivities of the game but not necessarily be going to the game," Van Sistine said.
The 1,238 rooms in the Sheraton Hotel in downtown Denver have been completely booked for a week.
"That would be good in any year, you know, not just the pandemic year," said Tony Dunn, the general manager of the Sheraton Denver Downtown Hotel. "We essentially went from like zero to 100 miles an hour overnight."
The influx of travelers also presented challenges, especially since the City of Denver had just 98 days to prepare for the All-Star Game after it was moved from Atlanta.
Staff shortages forced many businesses, like the Sheraton Hotel, to get creative.
Dunn said they flew in regional managers from the company and asked if they could hire friends and family.
More people staying downtown means more people downtown where they're spending money at local bars and restaurants.
Dunn said the Yard House, which is attached to the hotel, is seeing visitor numbers like they had in 2019 this week.
Zack Dym, manager of Marco's Coal Fired, said an event like the All-Star Game is exactly what the restaurant needs after the pandemic.
He said visitors are a mix of out-of-towners and Denverites.
"For the past few days, it's been pretty cool seeing people down here hanging out, like kind of doing more of their normal thing," Dym said. "They're a little more out here to have fun and like, relax and kind of get back to where it was like a couple years ago."
Officials with the Denver International Airport who predict traffic patterns said they expect nearly 1.3 million people to pass through between July 9 and July 14.
That is down 35,000 from 2019, the year before the pandemic. But business owners say the targeted impact of sports fans and tourists will still bring big numbers.