As the NFL lockout drags on through court motions and snippy shots fired through the media, downtown Cleveland businesses are worrying about the potential economic impact of a shortened season. Fans are concerned over missed games; bars, restaurants, and other businesses are concerned over lost dollars.
Every Sunday brings thousands downtown to eat, drink, stay in hotels, and fork over fistfuls of cash for $6 beers and more $6 beers.
The PD's Bill Lubinger reports on the big-picture financial impact on downtown Cleveland:
By 1997, then-Cleveland Mayor Mike White, in a Plain Dealer "op-ed" piece about the new lakefront stadium and the expansion Browns impending return, had put the team's economic impact at $77 million.
The most recent swipe at how much Browns games pump into the local economy was in late 2007 by Positively Cleveland, the region's tourism promoter.
The estimate: $63 million.
Tamera Brown, the agency's vice president of marketing, said the number represents actual spending by fans at the 10 preseason and regular-season games, not those who watch at local bars or buy souvenirs outside the stadium but don't go in. The figure includes tickets, souvenirs, food and beverages and, for tourists, lodging, transportation and other meals.
And it's not just bars and restaurants. From the part-timers who work at the stadium, to Berea, which collects taxes from employees at Browns headquarters, no one is looking forward to the NFL possibly canceling games.
Except the folks who clean up vomit in the Muni Lot. They probably wouldn't mind so much.