CLEVELAND — The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony this weekend is expected to generate millions of dollars for the local economy.
In 2018, when the induction ceremony was last held in Northeast Ohio, the event raked in roughly $35 million. This time around, Rock Hall officials anticipate that number could be north of $50 million.
“To put it into perspective, that’s a greater impact than hosting the NFL Draft,” said Rock Hall CEO Greg Harris. “The guests come and they spend money. They help create jobs. But the other benefit of this is that we're showing other folks who are thinking of doing conferences, trade shows conventions in Cleveland, that this city can deliver.”
A study published in March 2018 reveals the Rock Hall had a total impact of $199 million in business sales in Cuyahoga County. Visitors to the Rock Hall spent an estimated $127.4 million in 2017, averaging a daily spend of $349,000, both on-site and at other businesses in the County. This direct spending generated additional benefits through indirect and induced effects.
“Coming out of this pandemic, these events fit better in small and mid-sized cities than in big cities,” Harris said. “We’re hiring a ton of union labor at the venue to deliver the program. We’re doing events at the museum. When you start to add that together, it’s a massive ecosystem, and it’s a huge boost to our economy.”
Visitors to the Rock Hall generated nearly $13.4 million in state and local tax revenues, the study found. Local revenues included $2.9 million in local sales tax revenues and another $1.2 million in bed tax revenues.
“Cities like Cleveland don’t often get large, red-carpet, nationally or internationally televised events,” said CEO of Destination Cleveland, David Gilbert. “To know that every other year, being shown on HBO, being covered by music media all over the world. Having that take place in our city, it just continues to elevate the perception of Cleveland, which is really important.”
Roughly 94% of guests for the ceremony are from out of town, and the 2018 induction ceremony saw more than 22,000 hotel rooms booked. Recent events such as the 2016 Republican National Convention, the 2019 MLB All Star Game and the 2021 NFL Draft helped lay the foundation for hosting big-ticket events.
“The key here economically is hitting a lot of doubles and singles— and we’ve had more than our share of home runs here recently,” Gilbert said. ”We need to continue to get out there and be relentless about chasing down these opportunities for Cleveland. It’s also, month in and month out, hosting a lot of smaller events.”
The ceremony itself shifts locations this year from Public Hall to Rocket Mortgage Fieldhouse, doubling the size of the crowd in attendance from 6,000 attendees to 12,000 fans. The multipurpose field house also gives the flexibility of hosting world-class musical artists.
“That's the most up-to-date indoor venue in the country,” Harris said. “The new arena is built for events like this. It has all the rigging to put massive lightning, massive video. When you did those at the old venue you had to bring in engineers to rate the roof and make sure it would work. Here you just do it.”
With all of this economic impact and infrastructure in place, it begs the question: Can this event be a yearly fixture in Northeast Ohio?
Harris said it’s something that must take one step at a time.
“Years ago, people would say ‘the inductions are never here, why don’t you have them here?’ So, we started doing them here. We did them in 2009, 2012, 2015 and 2018,” Harris said. ‘The answer is, let’s deliver this year first. Let’s have a blast this week and really see where it goes.”
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