All-Star Week one of many big downtown events this summer

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July 18, 2014
By: Sarah McKenzie
Sarah McKenzie

While the All-Star Game has been the most hyped downtown event in some time, it’s not the only one this summer to bring a big influx of cash and visitors to Minneapolis.

The All-Star festivities followed two other major events — the 2014 USA Volleyball Girl’s Junior National Championship and the Shriners International 2014 Imperial Session — that combined had an estimated $94 million economic impact on the city and drew about 57,000 visitors, according to Meet Minneapolis.

City boosters are also excited about hosting the Meeting Professionals International 2014 World Education Congress at the Minneapolis Convention Center on Aug. 2–5. It’s the largest educational gathering for meeting professionals in the world and is expected to bring 3,000 visitors to the city along with $6.5 million in spending.

Dan McElroy, president and CEO of Hospitality Minnesota, said it’s been a great summer for hotels given the increase in convention business, special events and meetings. He predicted the occupancy rate for downtown hotels was approaching 80 percent.

“From the perspective of the hospitality industry, [All-Star Week] was the third of three fabulous events,” he said.

Major League Baseball’s Mid-Summer Classic attracted an estimated 160,000 visitors to the city and was expected to generate $75 million in economy activity, according to Meet Minneapolis.

Meet Minneapolis President & CEO Melvin Tennant said the All-Star Game was the “highlight of an extremely busy summer for the Minneapolis hospitality industry.”

“When taking into account the projected visitor spending and the value of worldwide media attention, the ASG is clearing the largest event our community has hosted since the 2008 Republican National Convention,” he said.

Downtown hotels were at capacity during All-Star Week, McElroy said. There was strong demand for high-end luxury units.

While some restaurants and bars got a big boost from festivities, the Shriners event likely had a bigger impact, he said.

Joanne Kaufman, executive director of the Warehouse District Business Association, said the unseasonably cool weather and rain delay for the Home Run Derby on July 14 resulted in a smaller turnout than businesses had anticipated. A double rainbow did appear over the skyline, however, creating a picturesque view from the ballpark.

“I know that I was around Monday afternoon and was disappointed in the crowds at the block party and in the neighborhood, but it was cold and grey with scattered rain,” she said. “Restaurants were busy for a Monday, but not crazy busy.”

The next day clear skies lifted spirits for the red carpet parade on Nicollet Mall and the All-Star Game at Target Field.

“[It was] glorious,” Kaufman said. “The crowds were awesome, the energy was just wonderful.”

City Council President Barb Johnson said the All-Star events gave the city a chance to showcase the “beauty of the ballpark” and the revitalized neighborhood surrounding it.

“The orderliness and safety provided by great public employees from across the community was remarkable,” she said.

Minneapolis Downtown Council CEO Steve Cramer said he was struck by the “positive and energetic feeling downtown” at various All-Star venues.

“I’m partial to some of the projects our office worked on — the green walking path line seemed to be a big hit, and it was fun to see whiffle ball games in Peavey Plaza,” he said. “Overall, I think Minneapolis really put our best food forward. And then there was the rainbow framing Target Field Monday evening. Priceless.”

While most have rave reviews of All-Star festivities, a late-night fireworks display as part of a VIP gala along the riverfront left many people annoyed. Major League Baseball and the Twins apologized for the disturbance.

City Council Member Jacob Frey (Ward 3) said he’s appreciative of the apology and noted that “large-scale events rarely go off without a hitch.”

“And in the process, we showed both coasts and everything in between that we are an extraordinary city,” he said. “It’s easy to focus on the negatives and be cynical, but looking back I think we as a community did a very good job as hosts.”

Minneapolis Police Department 1st Precinct Insp. Medaria Arradondo said there were no major public safety concerns during All-Star Week.

“I give all the credit to the members of the MPD and our numerous other law enforcement agencies  — metro, county, state and federal agencies — that partnered with MPD for the event,” he said. “It was truly a safe family friendly event that the MPD along with its assisting public safety partners was proud to have showcased the best in Minnesota law enforcement.”

The national exposure for All-Star Week also gave city leaders a chance to shine a light on Minneapolis’ assets. An estimated 11.34 million viewers watched the All-Star Game, according to Major League Baseball. 

Mayor Betsy Hodges kicked off her “Best Week of Bragging About Minneapolis Ever” a couple of days before the All-Star game. She has encouraged people to boast about the city on social media using the hashtag #bragmpls and take part in a mayoral challenge featuring 50 activities all over town.

The last time Minneapolis hosted an event of a similar scale was in 2008 for the Republican National Convention. While the convention took place in St. Paul, Minneapolis was home to several festivities, including a CivicFest at the Convention Center. An estimated 45,000 visited the Twin Cities for the political convention.  

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MLB All-Star Game by the numbers:
(Source: Major League Baseball)

Viewers for the 85th All-Star Game: 11.34 million (largest average attendance since 2010)

Dollar amount donated to charitable causes by MLB and Minnesota Twins: $8,575,800

Attendance for three days of ballpark events at Target Field: 121,169

Attendance for T-Mobile FanFest: 114,878

Attendance for MLB All-Star Summer Pepsi Block Party: 38,758

Attendance for Target MLB All-Star Concert: 30,092

Participants for The Color Run MLB All-Start 5K: 27,686

Credentialed media covering the All-Star Game: 3,000+