Seeing Red

There was a spirited discussion yesterday about the value of hosting a Capitals exhibition game in Baltimore. No one disputed that it was a pretty cool thing to do, but there was a question of the financial impact. Was it indeed a “million dollar” hit?

While there are numerous economic indicators beyond ticket sales and admission taxes, the one I’ve always found most reliable is both visual and palpable, and best measured in the hospitality community.

The above scene was captured a little after 6:00 pm about a block from 1st Mariner Arena. As you can see, this gathering had spilled out onto the street after filling the restaurant/bar. A block away, I encountered another stream of crimson colored jerseys flowing from a nearby hotel.

Several blocks up Charles Street, I had a close encounter with an aged Buick turning left against the light. It was close enough for me to see the driver sporting a vintage Langway as he whiffed by in search of parking.

In short, downtown (all the way to Mt. Vernon) was energized with this invasion of hockey fans. Whether they were locals or visitors didn’t matter as much as where they were – in Baltimore for the night, spending money, and having a good time.

Does that measure up to a million dollars in revenue? Ask the folks with the ringing cash registers.

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