Businesses owners are hoping that the 2013 MLB All-Star Game will hit one over the fence.
As baseball fans everywhere flock to the 84th All-Star Game next year at Citi Field, Queens businesses are prepping for the influx of customers.
“It gives Queens a huge national event. We’re planning to promote ‘the All-Star Game comes to Queens’ not to New York City,” said Rob MacKay, an executive committee member on the Queens Tourism Council, an arm of the Queens Economic Development Corporation (QEDC).
He added, “We’re very excited about it. It can bring an economic boom to the borough.”
Last week at a press conference to officially announce the Mets will host the All-Star celebration in July, 2013 — which includes the Home Run Derby, Fan Fest and the Celebrity All-Star Game — Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the event would draw in more than 175,000 fans and about $192 million to the city.
“It’s a good chance for us to A: bring people to our hotels, and then B: get those tourists to stay in Queens,” MacKay said.
It will be the second time ever the “Midsummer Classic” comes to the Mets, after its 1964 visit for Shea Stadium’s inaugural season.
MacKay hopes that fans stay at hotels in Queens over Manhattan and will then shop and visit restaurants, bars and various significant sites around the borough.
“It’s going to be huge. I’m extraordinarily excited,” said Brain Begos, general manager of McFadden’s bar across from Citi Field, who added he expects to have loads of customers from the events. “It’s great for New York, great for Queens, great for the Mets and great for McFadden’s.”
But there’s a curveball.
Edwin Rodriguez, a market manager at travel agency Expedia for the NYC metro area, researched the All-Star Game four years ago at Yankee Stadium and said the game may not bring as much business as expected.
“Expedia’s numbers show that MLB All-Star Games do not bring in huge amounts of compression for their host cities,” Rodriguez said. “All-Star Games typically don’t have the excitement that the World Series or Super Bowl would bring to a city.”
Rodriguez also said that during the 2008 All-Star Game, Bronx hotels only saw limited economic increases because the borough only had a few hotels, so most fans stayed in Manhattan.
That’s where MacKay said Queens has the upper hand, since there are about 90 hotels throughout the borough.
“We have luxury hotels that are as good as Manhattan, but $150 less,” he said.
MacKay said the Tourism Council has already begun discussing how to create packages for the hotels with various local businesses, such as “Borough Excursions,” to help fans enjoy Queens while they enjoy the baseball festivities.
“July and August are usually rough months for Queens hotels. So it’s coming at a perfect time,” MacKay said. “This is obviously a great opportunity and we’re not going to miss it.”