Baseball fans in Twin Cities brace for expensive All-Star Game
MINNEAPOLIS – The last time baseball’s All-Star Game was in Minnesota, Pete Rose was still playing baseball, the Metrodome was brand new and it cost $2 to watch the Home Run Derby. That was 1985.
In 2014, fans who want to see the game in Minneapolis next month are seeing prices in the hundreds of dollars. And that’s not the only change.
“The All-Star Game itself has grown leaps and bounds since ’85,” Twins spokesman Kevin Smith said. “Not only the game itself, but all the ancillary events that happen in and around the Twin Cities.”
The Twins promise a four-day extravaganza. There’s a celebrity softball game, a player parade and, of course, a home run derby – now a major television spectacle.
All those events add up to steep ticket prices, leaving some fans unhappy. On her way into a Twins game earlier this month, Tammy Sly of Minneapolis said she’s not ready to shell out hundreds of dollars.
“It’s not fair. It should be for the fans,” she said. “We paid for this stadium as taxpayers, and we should get to go to the game.”
According to a letter sent to Twins season-ticket holders, the package of the game plus events started at around $400 and went as high as $1,400.
Whether they’re season-ticket holders or not, fans have to buy the whole package, known as a ticket strip.
Season-ticket holder Dan Herrera of Roseville paid $420. Sitting at Hubert’s Sports Bar before a recent game, he said it’s worth it to see the best players in baseball and plans go to all the events.
“It’s just exciting that it’s here in person,” Herrera said. “I’ve never seen it and who knows if I’ll ever get a chance to go again in my lifetime.”
Thirty years ago, state officials expected 30,000 out-of-town visitors who would spend between $15 and $18 million.
This year the Meet Minneapolis Convention and Visitors Association projects the All-Star Game events will give the city a $75 million economic boost and bring in some 160,000 visitors.
Bar manager Zach Burns expects to see some of them at Hubert’s.
“We’re the closest place to the ballpark, so we’re expecting to see a good chunk of those people,” he said.
While nearby businesses should earn big, Victor Matheson, professor of Economics at the College of Holy Cross, says businesses outside the downtown core won’t see much benefit.
“There’s no doubt that there’s probably going to be $75 million of activity that does occur because of the All-Star Game,” he said. “What has to be considered though is the economic activity that doesn’t occur.”
Matheson said much of the economic activity during the All-Star game week will actually just replace what would’ve gone on anyway. But it’s not all about money.
“Although we don’t have a lot of evidence that events like these have a big boost to the economy, we do have some evidence that they actually make people happy,” he says. “The All-Star Game should be a fun event for Minneapolis and it very well may make people happy, but Minnesota shouldn’t expect to get rich off of it.”