Over the past two Astros World Series, Texans Dallas Hatton and Trey White have made it a tradition to support their team in opposing cities.
So earlier this month they flew to Philadelphia for Games 4 and 5. They booked three nights at the Wyndham Hotel in Old Town to make sure they could do some sightseeing, too.
Hatton, 36, and White, 42, both insurance agents, visited Independence Hall, the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin Museum and Christ Church Burial Ground, and ate at several restaurants along Market Street – “pretty sure we had enough cheesesteak to last us for a year,” White said.
After witnessing two road wins for the Astros, including a historic no-hitter, they returned home about an hour east of Houston to positive reviews from Philadelphia and excitement to return one day for see more of the city.
They were among the many groups that ventured into town for the Fall Classic.
It is too early to quantify exactly how many visitors came to Philadelphia during the World Series. The Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau (PCVB) is still analyzing the impact and plans to release a report later this week, but the Greater Philadelphia Hotel Association expects hotel occupancy that week to have increased by 20. % compared to an average week at this time of year, said executive director Ed Grose.
Airbnb spokesperson Haven Thorn confirmed that most Airbnb guests in Philadelphia at that time came from Houston, Dallas and Austin.
Visit Philadelphia, the region’s official tourism marketing agency, declined to comment until the PCVB had completed its own analysis.
Phillies fans have also ventured into the city from across the country and region, including the suburbs of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
This influx of people has provided “a short-term boost, certainly in the hospitality industry,” said George Diemer, an associate professor in Temple University’s department of sports and recreation management. But “it’s probably going to decline quite rapidly and have very little to no long-term economic benefit.”
Ultimately, most of the money spent last week was on merchandise and game tickets and will go to Phillies owners, he said. The good news for fans, he added, is that the property has a reputation for investing that money back into the team, which could lead to continued success in future seasons.
“It certainly doesn’t hurt … the business community” when sports teams are successful, Diemer said, “but we [economists] get nervous because many people tend to overestimate this economic impact.
The economic winners, he said, were local hotels and restaurants.
During this time of year, hotel occupancy is typically around 70%, Grose said.
During World Series games, “we suspect our occupancy was in the low to mid-90s, with a nice increase in our average daily rate,” he said. “We don’t have exact figures on the economic impact yet, but it’s going to be significant.”
Hotel managers in the area have noted an anecdotal increase in occupancy, Grose said, though downtown and airport hotels seemed unusually busy.
It was an added bonus that all games were scheduled or played on weekdays, he said, as hotel managers have yet to see business travel rebound from the pandemic.
And when Game 3 was postponed, “that rain delay meant millions of dollars for the city of Philadelphia because it was another night of business that we got.”
Many restaurant and bar owners had previously reported seeing their business increase thanks to the simultaneous successes of the Phillies, Eagles and Union, with fans spending money on food and drink while watching the games. And those companies got an extra boost when the World Series was in town, with more out-of-towners and locals, said Ben Fileccia, senior vice president of strategy and engagement at the Pennsylvania Restaurant and Lodging Association.
Even on Monday, October 31, after the rain in Game 3, many people stayed outside to eat and drink, making it “a bonus day” for bar and restaurant owners, he said.
The restaurant community is optimistic, he said, that the energy of these four days will also have a longer-term effect.
For rare, celebratory events like the World Series, “no matter where you are, you create that memory that will take you back there,” he said. “You’re going to remember the energy you felt when you were in town for this.”
He said he also hoped the experience would have left an impression on suburban residents, some of whose owners of restaurants and bars in the city have struggled to return in recent years as gun violence has increased.
In the city centre, Reading Terminal Market saw a 6% increase in traffic – or around 767 additional visitors – on playoff game days, including World Series games, whether home or away. outside, spokesman London Faust said.
But not all Philadelphia attractions saw a surge in patrons during the World Series, spokespersons for the Please Touch Museum, Philadelphia Zoo and Independence National Historical Park said, although some saw more visitors donning baseball gear and feeling palpable excitement in the air. .
At the Please Touch Museum in West Philadelphia, “attendance has remained consistent with our typical seasonality,” said Tracy Curvan, director of growth.
Nearby Philadelphia Zoo was closed on two of the three days the Phillies played home games in Philadelphia, having just moved to its Thursday-Sunday winter schedule, said marketing and communications specialist Maria Bryant. communications.
When they opened on Thursday, “we had a good crowd,” Bryant said, “but nothing would suggest it was from World Series tourism.”
At Independence National Historic Park – home to Astros White’s fan-favorite sites Independence Hall and Liberty Bell – the World Series had “no significant impact” on average daily visitor numbers that week , said Andrew McDougall, head of public affairs. The number hovers between 3,500 and 3,900 each day, he added, noting that park attendance has not returned to pre-pandemic levels.
“Every week there are people in town for various reasons, conventions, conferences,” McDougall said. “That week was the World Series.”
Diemer, the Temple professor, said it didn’t surprise him: economic studies have found that many people who pay to attend a match in person also don’t spend money on other attractions when they are in town. And while some commuters may enter the city, others may be more likely to stay away due to increased traffic and other factors, he said.
Economic benefits aren’t the be-all and end-all of the city, Diemer said, with the region also enjoying what economists call “psychic benefits.”
“People who don’t want anything to do with sports, I’m sure they enjoyed the energy. It was electric,” he said. At the same time, “there’s a lot more exposure to the city. The city advertises, gets its name in the press a lot more. … It’s really hard to put a price tag on that stuff.