CLEVELAND — All eyes will be on Cleveland for the 75th NBA All-Star Game.
“It's estimated over two billion people around the world will consume some part of this event. It just helps Cleveland in so many ways in terms of continuing to enhance the perception of Cleveland,” said David Gilbert, the CEO of the Greater Cleveland Sports Commission.
Crews have been sprucing up Downtown Cleveland for weeks to get the city ready for this week’s events.
“It's the kind of event that people pay a lot of money to buy their tickets and come in from all over the country or all over the world to take part in. The hotels are packed, they're packed at a very expensive rate,” said Gilbert.
Gilbert said a big reason leaders in the city worked to be the host of this year’s game: economic impact.
“It's the money that is spent. Millions and tens of millions in the production of this event. It's the money that tens of thousands of visitors spend while they're here and leading up to,” he said.
But people who live in Cleveland are also cashing in. Allie Carr lives in the Ohio City neighborhood. She is a realtor with Berkshire Hathaway and has rented out the live-in basement of her home for about two years.
“I thought it would be a cool idea to kind of get income from my home that I can put right back into it. So, it’s really worked out,” she said. “A lot of people are. Whether they’re looking for duplexes, or places that have a carriage house in the back, or lower-level like mine. Sometimes it’s someone that wants to owner occupy. Sometimes I get people that are looking at it, strictly, from an investment to Airbnb it.”
She said she is booked up every weekend, but with big weekends like the NBA All-Star game, it’s a game-changer when it comes to the price she can get from a renter.
“I’m getting what I would typically get in an entire month in one week,” she said.
Carr isn’t alone. News 5 checked websites like Airbnb and VRBO, and from places like Ohio City, to Tremont, to even Lakewood, the prices range from $250 a night to $2,000 a night during NBA All-Star weekend.
“I’ve encouraged a number of friends to just throw up their apartments, their places, to just get out of town for the week, similar to RNC. A few have and they are, similarly, getting like $2,000 for the week,” said Carr.
Gilbert said he was not surprised, but he is pleased.
“There are 28 designated NBA hotels that are all, largely, sold out at a high rate. It fills up every one of our 17 hotels downtown, plus many in the suburbs and that doesn't include any fans,” he said. “That opportunity for somebody to rent out their place for a lot of money, I'm thrilled to see it happen. It puts money in the pocket of people locally that otherwise wouldn't have it.”
Carr said most condominiums located downtown have rules that prohibit people from renting out their place on sites like Airbnb, so she encouraged anyone who is interested in putting their place up to do their research and vet their guests.