The 2007 MLS All-Star game, staged at Dick's Sporting Goods Park in Denver, Colo., might be a sellout, but it still has a long way to go before it comes close to generating the same kind of hype as say, the NBA All-Star game. Hotels are reporting a small bump in business, and "jersey-clad youths" have been spotted around town, but "the buzz is not as great as when we had the NBA All-Star Game," says Brian Hanover, regional marketing manager for ESPN Zone.
That won't be surprising to most, but the city of Denver is in the unique position of having hosted two professional league All-Star games in two years. The Denver Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau made around $30 million when it hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 2005. That's about what the Visitor's Bureau expected, but the group made no earnings estimate for the MLS All-Star Game. However, the L.A. Sports Council, which commissions such estimates, said a city could expect about $5 million from hosting an MLS All-Star game. Columbus, for example, saw about $2 million in visitor spending when it hosted the All-Star game in 2005.
So, what kind of measurable impact is MLS having on the city, the Post asks? Well, the Renaissance Hotel near Dick's Sporting Goods Park has been sold out for a month. As usual, the event will be more than a game. Among other things, there's an ESPN Zone, an MLS Soccer Jam, a week-long Under-17 tournament and a Skyline Park festival, which includes performances from area rock bands. But one thing the event needs is more corporate branding. It isn't as big as the NBA All-Star Game, yet.