Could Tigers’ Playoff Run Pump $74 Million Into Detroit’s Economy?

From Jeff T. Wattrick at on September 30, 2011:

Bloomberg has upped the “sports lifting our weary spirits” ante with real green money. Or projections of real green money, anyway.

In addition to declaring the Tigers postseason “a welcome respite to 22% unemployment” and dropping the first (and hopefully last) “tiger blood” reference of the postseason, the business network reported that Detroit could bank as much as $74 million in economic activity from the playoffs.


That figure is based on the Tigers playing all possible playoff home games, from the ALDS through the World Series. More specifically, Bloomberg estimates an impact of $5.3 million for each division series home game, $6.7 million for each ALCS home game and $12 million for each World Series home game.

Local baseball writer Gary Gillette is a past co-chair of the Society of American Baseball Research’s Business of Baseball Committee and serves on SABR’s Board of Directors. Gillette doesn’t quibble with those figures, but he says the raw data doesn’t tell the whole story.

“In many cases this is simply displacing other spending,” said Gillette. “If someone flies in from New York, yeah, that’s real money going into Detroit-area business coffers. But if someone from Detroit or West Bloomfield blows $1000 on going to postseason games, that’s money that likely would be spent on going out to dinner or on something else discretionary. It’s not new money into the economy. It’s just transferring spending from one local economic sector to another. As is often the case, these paint-by-numbers sports economics studies don’t take into that displacement effect into account.”

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Originally published: September 30, 2011. Last Updated: September 30, 2011.