All eyes will be on San Francisco?s AT&T Park this week as the city plays host the Major League Baseball All-Star Game. Tuesday?s game will be the 78th ?Midsummer Classic? and the third time the City of San Francisco has hosted the event and fifth time overall in Giants franchise history (including two games played at the Polo Grounds in New York).
Meanwhile, with Minnesota?s new ballpark about to rise in Minneapolis? North Loop Neighborhood, it?s not too early to begin thinking about when the All-Star Game will return to the Upper Midwest. The Twins have hosted the game twice ? in 1965 at Metropolitan Stadium and in 1985 at the Metrodome. With Minnesota?s new ballpark slated to open in the spring of 2010, the team has targeted 2015 as the preferred year to bring back the ?Midsummer Classic? back to the Twin Cities. Five years into the new park is about the ideal time to host the game. That reality — coupled with the synergies of the 30th Anniversary of the 1985 game and 50th Anniversary of the 1965 game ? makes 2015 the obvious plan.
To date, the team has engaged in only informal discussions with MLB about hosting the game. Those discussions will formalize later this year once the new ballpark is officially under construction. One challenge which exists is the sheer number of communities looking to host the game. To date, MLB has only awarded the next two games ? New York?s Yankee Stadium in 2008 and St. Louis? Busch Stadium in 2009. Kansas City has been promised a game between 2010 and 2014. You can expect a host of other communities ? Washington, New York (Mets), San Diego, Arizona, Tampa Bay, Cincinnati, and others — competing to host games in the years to come.
That competition is well justified based on the fact that the MLB All-Star Game has grown so much in stature and profile since Minnesota last hosted the event. While Minnesota hosted the first-ever Home Run Derby in 1985 (won by Tom Brunansky), that event is now an unparalleled spectacle. Throw in the MLB FanFest, the Future?s Game, All-Star Sunday and you have a three-day event attracting more than 250,000 fans and 1,800+ media. While some attempt to discredit the overall economic impact of pro sports, consider the following numbers which serve as hint of what Minnesota can expect when the Twins host the game in the years to come.
The Economic Impact of the All-Star Game
The economic impact of recent All-Star Games on its host cities and communities has been as follows, as calculated and provided by each All-Star Game host city:
Year Host City Economic Impact*
2007 San Francisco Estimated $60-65 million
2006 Pittsburgh $52.3 million
2005 Detroit $52.5 million
2004 Houston $65 million
2003 Chicago $60 million
2002 Milwaukee $50 million
2001 Seattle $50 million
2000 Atlanta $49 million
1999 Boston $65 million
1998 Denver $40.5 million
1997 Cleveland $37.6 million
1996 Philadelphia $55.9 million
*Past All-Star Games have filled between 14,000 and 16,500 hotel rooms and have drawn between 200,000 and 250,000 fans to the various All-Star Week festivities.
Dave St. Peter
President, Minnesota Twins Baseball Club