CLEVELAND — After successfully hosting the 2019 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, Cleveland was on a roll that looked to continue for the next two years and more. Then came the coronavirus and as the state shut down so did the first wave of those events slated for Cleveland resulting in the loss of tens of millions of dollars.
“We lost a lot of events,” said David Gilbert President & CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. “NCAA basketball and we had an NCAA swim championship and U.S. Cornhole nationals and the MAC Basketball Tournament and other cities lost the Final Four and the Women's Final Four and everyone are asking the same questions about what the future is going to look like.”
The loss of those events means the loss of booked hotel rooms and the tax on each overnight stay that accounts for 94% of Destination Cleveland’s funding.
“We're fortunate that a lot of the events and meetings and conventions that were booked during this time have re-booked for late this year or future years,” he said. “So while we're losing a lot some of that we'll make up in future years.”
But it does little for today. Nevertheless, if we are in a position as a country a year from now to resume large gatherings, things like the NFL Draft and the NBA All-Star Game nine months later will serve as sizable islands to aim for in this sea of uncertainty.
Next to the Super Bowl and NCAA Men's Final Four, the NFL Draft has become the ultimate get for cities looking to host a sporting event, breaking records across the board when it was held in Nashville last year drawing an estimated 600,000 fans and generating an economic impact of $224 million. To put that in comparison, the economic impact of the RNC in Cleveland was $188 million.
A study found that 54% of attendees were from out of town with an average hotel night stay of 2.8.
“The Draft is really about as big as it gets for Cleveland and so that could be a date a lot of people mark on the calendar as not just a big boost but a much more needed big boost than we might have thought.”