All-Star events economic boon for Durham

Jul. 10, 2014 @ 10:48 AM

The Fourth of July is typically one of the busiest nights of the year for the Tobacco Road Sports Café in Durham.

Co-owner Rommie Amra said the restaurant, which overlooks the Durham Bull Athletic Park, was expecting that the Triple-A All-Star Game and Home Run Derby would bring similarly sized crowds.
The business wasn’t the only one in Durham expecting to see a benefit from the Triple-A All-Star Game
The game and the Triple-A Home Run Derby were expected to sell out, Scott Carter, marketing director for the Durham Bulls Baseball Club, said in an email. That would put attendance at more than 10,000 for each event.
That’s compared to an average attendance of 7,400 people for regular-season Durham Bulls games, according to Carter, and the crowds of more than 9,000 people that they see typically at games on Thursday through Sunday
Ted Conner, vice president of economic development and community sustainability for the Greater Durham Chamber of Commerce, said the game and other events would generate a lot of secondary spending in the city.
“(The Triple-A All-Star Game’s) got a lot of sub-events to it, which brings out a lot of fans, and fans tend to spend money,” Conner said. “We’ll see a nice positive impact on sales tax, room tax night, and fun things like that.”
In total, the game and related events are expected to generate an estimated $3.3 million in visitor spending in Durham, said Shelly Green, the CEO of the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau.
That includes spending on hotels, food, gas and other costs from out-of-town players, media, league personnel and the fans, and not including spending by local residents.
“I think this is a real win for Durham to get this game,” Green said, adding that typically, July is a fairly slow month for Durham in terms of visitor spending.
Matthew Coppedge, chief operating officer of the downtown Durham-focused economic development group Downtown Durham Inc., said group leaders hope, and expect, that the benefits will spread from around the stadium and American Tobacco campus into the downtown’s center.
“(The American Tobacco area will) be the first stop, and people will want to get out and see everything Durham has to offer, especially if they’re staying downtown,” Coppedge said.
Anna Branly, the co-owner of the downtown cupcake shop The Cupcake Bar that’s located in the City Center on Main Street, said the business typically has more customers during downtown events, including for baseball games.
“We aren’t planning to do anything in particular for the games (except to try to have plenty of cupcakes on hand),” Branly said in an email.
Robert Poitras, the owner and operator of the Carolina Brewery, said he’s expecting to see the brewery’s Bullpen Pale Ale, which is a beer made by the brewery and cross-marketed with the Durham Bulls, to be popular among visitors.
The brewery is just one North Carolina brewery whose beer is sold at the ballpark. It sells four different brands of its beer at the park. Poitras said he expects the Bullpen Pale Ale to be particularly attractive to visitors.
“We definitely expect to be busier because of the visitors coming and wanting to try the local favor of what’s being made here in North Carolina,” he said.