San Francisco's Already Got a World Series Winner: Tourism

An aerial view of AT&T Park, with downtown San Francisco and Mount Tamalpais in the distance. (Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

San Francisco's hosting of World Series games for the third time in five years will boost the local economy in the short term and could bring visitors to the area years later, tourism officials in the city say.

Thousands of visitors are expected to spend millions of dollars in San Francisco over the weekend, when Games 3, 4 and 5 of the Fall Classic are scheduled to be played. According to the city's travel association, visitors spent close to $18 million at hotels, restaurants and stores when the Giants last appeared in the World Series in 2012. The team hosted the Detroit Tigers for Games 1 and 2 at AT&T Park that year.

The traditional tourism industries are not the only ones that stand to gain from the games.

Joe D’Alessandro, president and CEO of San Francisco Travel, expects a growing number of tourists to use short-term rental services like Airbnb and ride services such as Uber and Lyft on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

D’Alessandro also notes that TV broadcasts of the games will serve to market the city for years to come.

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“It puts San Francisco’s icons in front of consumers’ eyes around the country and in other markets around the world,"  said D’Alessandro. "Those are advertising dollars that we can’t spend.”

The latest Giants World Series comes on the heels of San Francisco hosting last year's America's Cup, the international yacht-racing competition. The Giants' success, along with recent playoff appearances by the Oakland A's, Golden State Warriors, San Francisco 49ers and San Jose Sharks, has turned the entire region into a national sports media draw, according to Daniel Durbin, a University of Southern California professor who directs the school's Annenberg Institute of Sports, Media and Society.

"As with TV networks, being an important sports city brings significant cachet in terms of cultural relevance and national and international prestige for that city," said Durbin.  "That cachet leads to growing tourism, sales of sports collectibles, and clothing bearing the name of the city."

As for the Giants themselves, the franchise's business side has never been healthier. As the San Francisco Chronicle reports, every part of the enterprise, from attendance to overall revenue to retail sales of team merchandise, is on the upswing.

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The Giants are also expecting a continued rush of purchases on their merchandise. Between 2009 and 2011, retail sales of team-themed goods increased by 140 percent, according to Giants officials. By the end of 2012, the last time the team won the World Series, it increased another 40 percent, said Dave Martinez, vice president of the team's retail operations.

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