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MLB's All Star game may be a home run for San Diego

Bryant McInerney, special to
San Diego set to shine as host of MLB's All-Star game

As Major League Baseball gears up for its 87th annual midsummer Classic, the city hosting the event is expecting a home run of its own.

The July 12 showdown between the best of the American League (AL) and the National League will be held in San Diego for the third time, but at Petco Park for the first. Along with the All-Star game—and most other major league sporting events—comes a commensurate boost in economic activity, as thousands of people travel from coast to coast to see the game.

Last year's MLB All-Star game was played in Cincinnati, Ohio, generating an estimated economic impact of $65 million, according to figures from Baseball Almanac. From 2002 to 2011 the league's data says the AL vs NL showdown has brought an average economic impact of $70.5 million for host cities.

In 2013, the Midsummer Classic was accompanied by a huge boom when the New York Mets hosted: The extravaganza raked in $191.5 million, according to an impact study by the New York City Economic Development Corporation.

The classic brought in an estimated 176,239 people who traveled to NYC for game related activities, and expectations are also high for San Diego—which is also playing host to the massively popular Comic-Con.

"We expect over 250,000 fans will have some type of All-Star experience attending events inside & outside the ballpark during the six days," said Matt Bourne, the MLB's vice president of business public relations. "We have 12 hotels in the downtown totaling 16,000 room nights that we contracted."

Joe Terzi, president and CEO of the San Diego Tourism Authority explained how the coastal city with more than a million residents the perfect place for an event of this magnitude.

"The fortunate thing for us is that FanFest is in the San Diego Convention Center which is right in downtown San Diego and in the entertainment area, Terzi told CNBC in an interview. "We are no stranger to large events and we think this year's All-Star game will be one of the best ever."

Using data from recent All-Star games near San Diego, the Tourism Authority anticipates that around 60,000 non San Diego natives will invade the local area. Terzi also estimates that 45,000 hotel rooms will be occupied during the events, and the city will reap back $60-70 million.

During the six-day event, San Diego also plans to donate up to $1.5 million of the All Star proceeds to city contributions for firefighters, police officers and other services. Even with large sums cities normally shell out in security and infrastructure costs, experts say those amounts pale in comparison to the overall returns. Businesses large and small can expect to see a boost from the extra foot traffic, more consumer spending and added tax revenue.

2013 all star game mets baseball--1628865838_v2.jpg
FILE - In this April 13, 2009, file photo, baseball fans hold up a sign in front of the Citi Field before the New York Mets' home-opening baseball game against the San Diego Padres at Citi Field in New York. A person familiar with the announcement says Major League Baseball will announce Wednesday, May 16, 2012, that the Mets will host the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field. The person spoke on condition of anonymity on Tuesday, May 15, because MLB did not reveal the purpose of Wednesday's news c
Seth Wenig

"Having a huge pro-sporting event like the MLB All-Star Game clearly impacts the tourism and hospitality industries," said Carol Roth, a small business expert and a CNBC contributor.

"With the freelance economy being an important addition to the entrepreneurial landscape, people who rent their properties through entities like AirBNB and who drive for entities like Uber should derive financial benefits as well," she added.

"The financial benefits of the MLB All-Star game also spills over to local restaurants and retailers as well, which is not just a one-and-done benefit for these small business owners," Roth said. "This creates an amazing opportunity for them to connect with new customers who may buy from them again online (if they have an online presence) and tell their networks about their positive experiences, leading to more word-of-mouth business."

The Midsummer showdown brings lots of foot traffic into local establishments near the stadium. At Moerlein Lager House, less than a three minute walk from Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, Manager J'Dahms explained the excitement and attention the game brought to the local area last year.

"It was a record breaking week, it was extremely impressive how the city and the Reds were with all of the preparation and even though it was long and exciting hours," said Dahms, calling it "an experience of a lifetime." The bar actually hosted ESPN personalities Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg that week, he said.

With a projected 200,000 people set to descend on San Diego, Bub's at the Ballpark manager Ryan Dickert explained how his staff is preparing for the crowd.

"We have been preparing for this since January, and we hired extra staff to prepare them for this occasion but we aren't saving lives here," Dickert joked. "It's just burgers, beers and tots."