Tigers Business is Booming

The Tigers success has been bringing people downtown all summer. The Tigers are only 55,285 fans away from setting a new record in Comerica Park attendance. It will pass the 2,533,752 fans who came to Comerica Park in 2000. It will also become the 2nd largest crowd in Detroit history.

Now a study shows that the possible impact of a long playoff run could bring as much as $71.7 million into the city (reg required). That number assumes that Detroit would host the maximum number of home games which would be 11. The estimates include tickets, parking, food, drink, entertainment and souveneirs.

The estimates are for $3.9 million per ALDS game, $5.5 million for each ALCS game, and $9.5 million per World Series game.

I’m typically skeptical about these types of estimates, but this set actually seem reasonable. If you assume 43,000 fans per game the estimates are $90.69 per fan for the ALDS, $127.90 for the ALCS, and $220 for the World Series. I think it is a safe assumption that thousands of fans without tickets would be coming down to enjoy the games in local establishments, so those per fan averages are probably even lower.

Now given the current standings, it is unlikely that Detroit would have a shot at having 4 home games in the ALCS. Regardless of the number of playoff games, the study says taht the increased attendance has already resulted in an additional $36.2 million coming into the city during the regular season.


  1. Jeff M

    September 29, 2006 at 8:58 am

    Those numbers are very reasonable. The only problem is that about 80% of it will be spent inside the stadium. The average ticket prices are about $50/$90/$190. Figure $20 per fan in concessions and now the only thing being spent in the surrounding area is parking and a couple beers.

    There’s no doubt it’s good for the city, but mostly it’s just good for Ilitch.

  2. Kyle J

    September 29, 2006 at 10:41 am

    Link to economic study here:


    The squishy part of studies like these are the “indirect economic multipliers.” They’re assuming a multiplier of 1.6–i.e., that 60% of direct spending is then respent in the Detroit area by those collecting the first wave of revenue. This seems a bit high given that a large portion of the revenue is basically going to Mike Illitch. I really don’t think he’s going to take that money and head over to the Greektown Casino to blow it.

    Certainly the Tigers’ success is great for the city. Pinning down the impact is pretty imprecise science, though.

    (I’m not an economist, but I play one on TV.)

  3. Kurt

    September 29, 2006 at 12:14 pm

    Without knowing their track record, it’s hard to say. Their 60% indirect sounds like a high estimate, but then they leave out of direct any estimate how much money people from out of town are spending while in Detroit — not directly at the game. Under the idea that the playoffs would some amount draw out-of-towners to the game, I think they dumped that into indirect.

    Say, if I flew down there, stayed with friends, there’d be more spending in the city that wasn’t taken into direct effect on the study. I’d have to eat, maybe spend a few bucks shopping at an actual mall (their use of Detroit was “metro.”) Some folks from out-of-town may stay at a hotel if they don’t have friends or family, that’s extra money that doesn’t fit into any specific category they included.

    Those are hard things to estimate directly. So, I think that 60% might be somewhat of a catch-all, or else their study has a bit of a flaw in its estimate.

    I’d also be curious how much of a track record they have. They only claim to have a good one.

    Also not an economist, but studied four years of it.

  4. Kurt

    September 29, 2006 at 12:32 pm

    Okay, I read it all the way through, hotel, restaurants, etc, were covered in indirect, and that, ultimately, is just using a guess that worked well in the past. Not everyone is from out-of-town, not every dollar spent at a hotel stays in Detroit, etc.

    But as has been stated, it’s always an imprecise art.

  5. Kyle J

    September 29, 2006 at 12:50 pm

    Two very interesting baseball articles in today’s Wall Street Journal (don’t think you can access them on-line w/o a subscription):

    1) Top clutch postseason hits of all time judged on four criteria: how late in the game, increased odds of winning game, increased odds of winning World Series, quality of pitcher. Tony Womack’s game 7 double in the 2001 WS comes out on top–edging Mazeroski, Gibson, and Thompson. Pudge’s single in game 3 of the 2003 NLDS comes in at #10 among hits in the last five years.

    2) Article arguing that batting avg. allowed to opponents is a key indicator of postseason success. Tigers rank 2nd among postseason contenders on this stat at .254. Padres are first at .250. Yankees: .262. Twins: .267. A’s: .270. Argument is (in part) that walks aren’t as harmful against lineups stacked with better hitters. Claims to be based on BP research. Will need to review chapter from the book they released earlier this year.