Durham ready to shine with the All-Stars

Jul. 11, 2014 @ 11:17 PM

The All-Star game is coming to town, with festivities related to the game getting underway today.
Teamwork helped Durham land the game. Durham’s corporate community, led by the Chamber of Commerce and Convention and Visitors Bureau, gave strong backing to the Bulls’ bid to host the 2014 Minor League All-Star Game. Anyone who attended the chamber’s annual lunch-turned-pep-rally earlier this year can attest to that, taking part in a video sent to the selection committee showing the strength of support here.
Business, obviously, will benefit from the influx of fans. In a special section today in The Herald-Sun about the game and its festivities, Shelly Green, the CEO of the DCVB, said the events are expected to generate about $3.3 million in visitor spending in Durham.
That includes spending on hotels, food, gas and other costs from out-of-town players, media, league personnel and fans. That doesn’t include money that many of us who live here will spend.
Moreover, the influx of spending comes in July, usually a fairly slow month for visitor spending in the city.
Then there are the intangibles the game will generate. It puts Durham on the national stage, once again. It’s another notch in our coolness belt.
It shows that we are a city that can stage big events successfully, with strong community support. That community support factored heavily into the league selecting Durham as the host.
“Since Durham has come into the league they have been such a valuable member and everything has been first class,” International League president Randy Mobley told The Herald-Sun’s Steve Wiseman in today’s special section. “Durham has been on the radar for the All-Star Game for a while. Once they hosted the national championship game and did such a wonderful job with that, it was a no-brainer that we needed to get back to Durham for that event.”
Anyone who remembers the 2012 National Championship Game will know it had all the makings of a disaster. Torrential rain – 3 inches of it – fell during the game, which was being televised nationally. In cities with a lesser passion for sports and community support, the stands might have been empty. But in Durham, about 8,000 people were on hand to watch Reno and Pawtucket slug it.
“Eight thousand people for two neutral teams,” Bulls general manager Mike Birling said. “Once they left here, I think they realized that the fan base here and the operation is something we needed to look at.”
We’re glad they gave us a look. This is yet another chance for Durham to shine. We are up for the challenge.