Detroit, Milwaukee Get Ready For Post-Season Economic Boost

Sep 29, 2011

There may be no joy in Boston or Atlanta, but there is plenty among baseball fans in the Great Lakes.

The Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers are headed to division playoff series in the American and National Leagues, respectively.

The Brewers have a leg up on their neighbors across Lake Michigan: they’ve clinched home field advantage in the best of five series. They play the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday and Saturday at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

The Tigers face the New York Yankees those same days at Yankee Stadium in New York, then return to Comerica Park on Monday.

Both teams have been big economic drivers for their home towns, and both cities will get another economic boost from post-season games, which could last all this month, depending on how far each team goes.

That’s good news for everything that benefits from a sports team: restaurants, parking lot attendants, hotels, souvenir sales and the guys who hawk peanuts.

Even before the playoffs start, the Brewers have sold more than 3 million tickets this year, breaking an attendance record set in 2009. That gave them seventh place in Major League Baseball.

Milwaukee did not raise season ticket prices for 2011, and has offered inexpensive deals such as a $14 combo ticket to a baseball game and the Wisconsin State Fair.

Aside from baseball, Brewers’ principal owner Mark Attanasio remains optimistic about the economy in general. Last month, the long-time investment manager said he expected the country to avoid a double-dip recession, despite doom surrounding financial markets.

In Detroit, the Tigers drew 2.6 million fans during the regular season, good for 13th place among major league teams. All year, they’ve had the drawing power of Justin Verlander, the American League’s likely Cy Young Award winner and candidate for most valuable player.

As far back as June, the Tigers drew 5,000 more fans per game when Verlander pitched than on an ordinary night.

Although the Tigers failed in their goal to get home field advantage, Verlander provided an economic gift to the Metro Detroit area, at least in one way: magazine sales.

He made the cover of Sports Illustrated earlier this month.