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Kansas City Named Site Of 2012 All-Star Game


Kansas City, MO – Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig not only made it official yesterday by announcing the 2012 All-Star game for Kansas City, Mo. He came with a message: "Get ready for something big." KCUR's Greg Echlin has more.

The impact of the All-Star game was felt last summer across the state in St. Louis, Mo.

ANNOUNCER (at the All-Star game): "Let's meet your American League and National League All-Stars (clapping)."

Before then, the last All-Star game played in Missouri was in 1973, at what was then known as Royals Stadium shortly after it opened in 1973.

Commissioner Bud Selig says the difference in the event from then to now is like night and day.

"I really believe in what it does for a community or a region. People come from all over," says Selig. "You have great players from both leagues. Plus, the thing is so amazing. In '73 you flew in. You watched the game and you got out. Not today."

On the financial side, Selig quoted $70 million as the amount of the economic impact, a figure he later felt was conservative.

What's the real impact? Patrick Rishe has an idea. He's the director of "Sport Impacts," a firm that studies the impact on cities hosting major sporting events. Rishe says the 2005 All-Star game sparked $42 million in spending around greater Detroit, its host city. But that was the figure for gross spending, which Rishe says tends to overstate real financial impact.

"You give the report to the local organization. Then they feed it to the press and they usually report the larger numbers," says Rishe. "A little bit maddening on my part because you look at this and say, Well, that's sort of right what I just said.' But there's some adjustments that need to be made that sometimes are not reported in the media."

One major factor in figuring the economic impact is called "displacement." In other words, is another major convention in Kansas City being displaced to lure the All-Star game in 2012? To a degree, there is. But according to Rishe, only the Super Bowl and the Men's Final Four trump the All-Star game for spending.

For that reason, Bill Bohde of the Kansas City Convention and Visitors Bureau says they're satisfied with the adjustments for 2012. Skills USA, the largest annual convention for Kansas City, is moving up its convention dates to accommodate the All-Star activities.

"Tremendous work has gone in because of negotiations not only to work with Skills USA, in negotiating the right deal in order to get them to move two days," says Bohde. "We had to re-locate one other convention also that we were bidding on from 2012 through 2014."

The other major factor is referred to as "leakage." Of the money paid to the chain hotels and restaurants, a portion leaves the market for their corporate offices elsewhere.

Considering all the factors, including the city's investment for infrastructure, Patrick Rishe says hosting the big game is still a plus for the city. "Even if we factor in leakage and displacement, the net economic impact on local income is as low as 30-million. Well, if you only spend five million dollars in public resources to put the event on, then I guess it was worth it."

Not to mention the memories. Commissioner Bud Selig attended the 1973 All-Star game in Kansas City. He remembers the party he attended at the home of the late Ewing Kauffman, the Royals owner. Selig knows the All-Star game's return to Kansas City is overdue. "It'll be 39 years at that point, but it'll be worth the wait once it comes."

Sports have an economic and social impact on our community and, as a sports reporter, I go beyond the scores and statistics. I also bring the human element to the sports figures who have a hand in shaping the future of not only their respective teams but our town. Reach me at gregechlin@aol.com.
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