DURHAM, N.C. (WNCN) – Durham gets to show off some Bull City pride Wednesday.
The new owners of the Boston Red Sox Triple-A team, the Pawtucket Red Sox, will bring business leaders and community activists from Rhode Island to North Carolina Wednesday afternoon. They are meeting with the owners of the Durham Bulls to see the positive impact a downtown ballpark can bring to a city.
According to an itinerary obtained by WNCN, the trip includes a bus tour of Durham and a roundtable discussion with Durham’s city leaders. The state of North Carolina will also honor former Boston Red Sox President and CEO Larry Lucchino. Lucchino currently serves as chairman of the Pawtucket Red Sox ownership group. To finish off the day, the group will have seats to watch Wednesday’s game, when the Bulls take on the Indianapolis Indians.
This isn’t the first time Durham has played host to a group like this. A Bulls spokesman said representatives from all 30 Triple-A clubs came to the 2014 Triple-A All-Star Game. At that event, the Bulls held a forum about ballparks serving as catalysts for downtown revitalization.
According to the Durham Convention and Visitors Bureau, the last economic impact review of the Durham Bulls was done in 2009-2010.
Shelly Green, President of the DCVB, tells WNCN:
Visitors to the Durham Bulls Athletic Park (which is defined as attendees who are NOT residents of Durham) spent $24 million in direct spending in Durham, not only in the park but in hotels, restaurants, retail stores, etc. With indirect and induced spending added in, the total economic impact of visitors to the DBAP in 2009-2010 was $33 million. Visitor spending has gone up since then so it’s pretty safe to say that each year visitors to the DBAP spend more than $25 million in the local Durham economy.
Green said visitors and spending have changed since the ballpark was opened.
In 1994, the year prior to the opening of the DBAP there were 3.5 million visitors to Durham and they spent $278 million in the local economy. In 2014 (the most recent number available) 9.3 million visitors came to Durham and spent more than $800 million.