Giants World Series Success Boosts Local Economy
It's not like the general manager of San Francisco's downtown Hilton Hotel was rooting for the Giants to lose Monday when the team clinched the World Series.

But as Michael Dunne watched hundreds of Major League Baseball employees close down their temporary offices in his hotel and check out of their 350 rooms on Tuesday morning, there was a longing for an extended World Series. Dunne wasn't alone in lamenting the World Series ending all too soon. The Giants clinched their first World Series championship since moving west in 1958 in five games, eliminating the need to play two more sold-out contests in San Francisco.

"Two more would have been nice," Dunne said. "But it was still a great experience for the city."

The Giants hosted the first two World Series games Oct. 27 and 28 and four playoff home games, extending their season into November and drawing fans to San Francisco's hotels, restaurants and bars.

"We know that there were millions of dollars of direct spending," said Laurie Armstrong, a spokeswoman for the San Francisco Convention and Visitors Bureau. "The even bigger number is the exposure it had on the city."

It's impossible to quantify exactly how big of a boost the Giants' success had on San Francisco, but the series "reinforced the message that San Francisco is an attractive vacation destination."

Mayor Gavin Newsom's office said the exposure of the Giants' victory and the city's successful hosting of a parade and rally attended by tens of thousands could help persuade software tycoon Larry Ellison to choose San Francisco to conduct sailing's America's Cup.

Ellison, Oracle Corp.'s chief executive, won the last America's Cup competition, giving him the right to choose the site for the next contest. Ellison has said San Francisco is his only choice for an American city. Economists predict an America's Cup contest, which lasts weeks and requires months of preparation in the host city, would pump billions of dollars into the local economy.

Indeed, Clemson University sports economist Skip Sauer said the direct economic effect of the World Series, while highly visible, was limited. But that the exposure will work to the city's benefit in the long run.

"Once the circus leaves town, there is very little lasting effect," he said. "The spending is concentrated on very specific sectors and given the size of the overall economy, the impact is pretty limited."

Still, he agreed with Armstrong that the larger effect is on creating civic pride.

"It pumps up everyone," Sauer said, making for consumer confidence. "Everyone likes being associated with a winner."

For the Giants themselves, the World Series success helped the team's bottom line, as evidence by the truck loads of memorabilia rushed to AT&T Park immediately after the Giants clinched a postseason spot. The six additional home games also helped.

Vince Gennaro, a financial consultant to several Major League Baseball teams and the author of "Diamond Dollars: The Economics of Winning Baseball" said series winners always attract new fans the following season.

"One of he things that almost invariably happens when a team goes on a deep run in the playoffs is that a lot of fan who stayed away from the ballpark during the regular season scramble for tickets," said Gennaro, who also teaches at Columbia University. "They are typically frustrated by the prices and seating."

So, Gennaro said, those fans buy season tickets for the next year as a sort of "options on future playoffs seats."

Gennaro has developed an algorithm to predict the value of postseason success for each team.

He said since the Giants have near capacity crowds almost every night, such an impact will be more modest in San Francisco than with other teams. For instance, Genarro said that the Chicago White Sox doubled their season ticket sales from 12,000 to 25,000 after their World Series victory in 2005.

Still, he predicts the World Series victory will mean at least an additional $35 million in revenue for the team, including $10 million in revenue the extra six games and additional memorabilia sales Gennaro estimates the Giants rang up in October.

"There is a nice healthy bump for the winners," Gennaro said. "Winning is seductive and addictive and the fans want to buy in."

Even the Giants parade and rally Wednesday provided financial boosts to local businesses. Tens of thousands of fans poured into San Francisco to watch the Giants parade through the financial district to City Hall where the mayor presented the key to the city to team owner Bill Neukom. Fans spread out shoulder to shoulder throughout the park in front of City Hall to watch the rally. Afterward they spilled into the delis, taquerias and bars in the nearby Tenderloin neighborhood, a seedy and downtrodden stretch of San Francisco known more for its illicit drug trade than economic vitality.

But on Wednesday, the neighborhood was overwhelmed by hungry and thirsty fans.

"It was the busiest day we had in 30 years," said Jean Aburahma, who co-owns the Turk and Larkin Deli with her husband. "We were wiped out today. They ate everything."