At a time when Oregon is in dire need of economic stimulus, Major League Baseball can be a key factor in rejuvenating the state’s economy and civic pride. An analysis of new ballparks constructed in the last several years reveals one consistent theme: every community with a new ballpark has experienced economic benefits that have far exceeded the region’s original expectations.
Based on other ballpark construction projects, an Oregon MLB ballpark will produce more than 1,500 full-time construction jobs. Turner Construction, the nation’s largest sports facility builder with more than 70 major ballparks, stadiums, arenas, and related sports facilities completed in the last 5 years, estimates that 1,300-1,600 construction related jobs will be created by the construction of a new Portland ballpark. More than 2,000 permanent jobs are anticipated as a result of the new ballpark and team.
New tourism generated by MLB in Oregon will bring ancillary tourism benefits to all regions of our state – common sense alone might suggest that many visitors coming to see MLB in Portland will also travel to and spend money in other areas of Oregon, either on the same visit or on a future one. There’s also ample evidence to back that logic. In Denver, 10 percent of Colorado Rockies’ attendees are tourists who stay at least one night in a Colorado hotel. At this percentage (assuming a conservative average attendance of 28,000 per game for a Portland team), approximately 227,000 new overnight tourist visits to Oregon will be generated each year. As further evidence backing this projection, studies from Houston and Phoenix have documented that tourists account for 18 percent and 11 percent of game attendees respectfully – generating hundreds of thousands of new dollars in hotel and car rental tax revenue.
Not surprisingly, the Oregon Tourism Commission is a strong proponent of the Oregon Stadium Campaign. David Zielke, Chair of the commission, proclaims, “Baseball would provide our state a world class attraction that will create jobs, visitor spending throughout the state and help create awareness domestically and internationally that Oregon is a great place to visit.
”The thousands of Oregonians who consistently travel to Seattle and San Francisco to see MLB – and spend their money outside of Oregon – will now be able to experience the nation’s pastime in our home state, while keeping their dollars in Oregon’s economy, and again benefiting all Oregonians. A trip to Portland will cost much less and allow for more discretionary spending on other Oregon entertainment options.
Approximately 15 percent of Portland Trail Blazers’ ticket buyers reside outside of Oregon, most in Southwest Washington. Assuming 15 percent of ticket buyers of an Oregon MLB team are from out of state, approximately 340,000 new out-of-state tourist visits will be made to Oregon each year, resulting in a major economic infusion for the state’s restaurants, bars and retail establishments.
A Portland MLB team will result in millions of dollars in new revenues for our state’s general fund, just from the construction jobs alone created by building a new stadium – not to mention the taxes generated from surrounding businesses who will benefit from thousands of people eating, drinking and/or sleeping in their establishments during the 81 MLB homes games. It all ads up to substantially more general fund revenue for use for services throughout the entire state. The various elements of economic impact — substantial direct revenue to local, regional and state governments, new private development, new jobs, tourism impact and enhanced national visibility — materialize into a formidable combination of economic benefits that will permeate the state of Oregon.
It is also important to recognize the intangible value of Major League Baseball — the vibrancy and energy that is infused into a community. Major League Baseball is a singular experience that promotes civic pride and enhances the cultural experience of a region, while providing families with unlimited entertainment and treasured memories of times at the ballpark. The Oregon Stadium Campaign and others involved in this campaign are committed to providing Oregonians with direct access to this truly special experience. We hope that you will join us in the effort. If you haven’t already done so, please document your support for the campaign and contact Oregon public officials to convey your enthusiasm for bringing MLB to Oregon.