A World Series Money Boost for St. Louis, Detroit St. Louis and Detroit both have baseball teams in the World Series -- St. Louis leads the series 2-1 after a victory Tuesday night. The series is likely to be a sorely needed financial boost for both home cities.
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A World Series Money Boost for St. Louis, Detroit

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A World Series Money Boost for St. Louis, Detroit

A World Series Money Boost for St. Louis, Detroit

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Okay, business and sports. The Cardinals lead the Detroit Tigers two games to one in the World Series. The next game is tonight in St. Louis. But whether the Cardinals or the Tigers prevail at the end of this series, both cities already feel like winners, or many people in them do. People are paying attention to these two cities, people are going there are spending money. From Detroit, here's NPR's Celeste Headlee.

(Soundbite of baseball game)

Unidentified Announcer: And the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals.

(Soundbite of cheering)

CELESTE HEADLEE: Around Busch Stadium in St. Louis, there was a palpable feeling of energy and enthusiasm during Game 3 of the World Series. People in the city are smiling, they're bragging about their hometown and they're spending money - lots of it. The chamber of commerce estimates that about $2.5 million will change hands outside the stadium during every World Series game. And in Detroit, local clothing stores are doing a brisk business in Tigers jerseys, parking lots are full and coffee shops are selling hundreds of lattes. Travis Fritz(ph) of the Detroit Brew Company(ph) says his business has increased exponentially because of the games.

Mr. TRAVIS FRITZ (Detroit Brew Company): Saturday was pretty much wall-to-wall people in here from about two in the afternoon until about two in the morning. It was honestly like walking through a rock concert for 12 hours in here. It was amazing.

HEADLEE: Jeff Karoub of Crain's Detroit Business says any economic gain for St. Louis and Detroit is significant because it's unexpected.

Mr. JEFF KAROUB (Crain's Detroit Business): We didn't think we'd be playing baseball into October. We didn't think that we'd be chasing a World Series, and we didn't think that that many more people would be coming downtown and/or going to bars and restaurants throughout the region to watch games.

HEADLEE: Economists can figure out how big an impact an event like the World Series has on a city by adding up things like ticket sales and spending on parking, food and souvenirs. Victor Matheson is a professor of economics at the College of the Holy Cross in Massachusetts. He studied cities that hosted the World Series between 1972 and 2001. Matheson discovered that the impact of every home game is, on average, nearly $7 million for the host city.

Mr. VICTOR MATHESON (Professor of Economics, College of the Holy Cross): Now that really seems maybe like a big number, but for a city like Detroit with a metropolitan area of about 3 million people, that's an increase in incomes of only $2 a person. So that's not very big.

HEADLEE: If the teams play all seven World Series games, St. Louis could get a $27-million boost and Detroit could see $70 million. But Matheson says both cities are currently in tough economic times, and the World Series won't do much to change that. Dick Fleming agrees. He's the president of the St. Louis Regional Chamber.

Mr. DICK FLEMING (President, St. Louis Regional Chamber): It is an incremental number, and as I said, it's the civic capital that the World Series brings to a community, and it's the ability to really tell the story of other things beyond the baseball. As proud as we are of the Cardinals, the fact is there's a tremendous renaissance happening here in St. Louis, and this creates an occasion to focus on it, above and beyond the games.

HEADLEE: And Fleming says the Cardinals' success is improving morale for residents of the struggling city.

Mr. FLEMING: It does have a real psychological boost for a community, and you can feel a little spring in the step already around here, just because the Cardinals have so far exceeded expectations in terms of how the regular season ended here.

HEADLEE: Economist Victor Matheson says even if it's impossible to measure the psychological impact of the World Series, the issue should be taken seriously.

Mr. MATHESON: We've actually seen in some studies, like teams that win the Super Bowl, for example, it seems that their population is a lot more productive the next year. Whether that's just kind of an accident that happens in the data or whether people are really happier, and happier workers work harder kind of remains to be seen.

HEADLEE: The unemployment rate in St. Louis is more than 5 percent. In Detroit, it's about 7 percent. Celeste Headlee, NPR News, Detroit.

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