The St. Louis Cardinals baseball team has made one of the most dramatic turnarounds in the history of baseball. Counted out as late as early September, they have managed to beat what many fans and sports aficionados considered the best team in baseball – the Philadelphia Phillies – followed by a surprising series win over their division nemesis – the Milwaukee Brewers. Incredibly, they are now in the World Series; a pleasant surprise for their fans and their hometown.
The real winner has been the City of St. Louis. It has received an unexpected economic boost from the playoffs and the World Series. The local hospitality industry has been the primary beneficiary of this boost. If you talk with downtown hoteliers and restaurants, they will tell how much of an economic impact the Cardinals have on their operations. St. Louis is a seasonal market with winter and fall being the two slower seasons. The Cardinals’ late season surprise has resulted in an unexpected windfall for not only the hotels and restaurants, but also the numerous ancillary services associated with hospitality. Taxi cabs, public transportation, memorabilia vendors, parking and even bars and restaurant outside the downtown area are benefitting as Cardinal fans flock to their establishments to cheer on their favorite team.
So I think we should all thank the Cardinals for their surprising success. It has benefited everyone in the region, so much so that the mayor recently stated that the city has received an unanticipated $2.0M shot in the arm. According to the mayor, planned furloughs by city employees are no longer necessary. Can you think of a better Christmas present? This is yet another example of just how important the hospitality industry is to our local and regional economy. Here’s to wishing success to the Cardinals. We cannot wait for spring training 2012 to begin.
Photo Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mitchell3417/1924782642/