The Orioles mean to the local economy? And...

WHAT DO

December 14, 1992

WHAT DO the Orioles mean to the local economy? And especially, has the new Oriole Park at Camden Yards sports complex had any impact on downtown businesses?

An unscientific survey of three major hostelries downtown indicates that the baseball team's economic value cannot be underestimated.

One hotel reported that starting in June, all its rooms were booked every weekend the Orioles were in town. And its bar and restaurant were packed.

Another luxury hotel reported the same phenomenon during Oriole homestands. And the third hostelry discovered that whenever the Orioles played a home game, its reservation lines were jammed. The hotel ended up turning away anywhere from 700 to 1,000 room-seekers for every Oriole series.

As for next season, the hotels are looking forward to even bigger financial payoffs, luring more fans after the baseball games to frequent their eateries and pubs. Plus, there's the All-Star game here in Baltimore. Most hotels are already fully booked; one of the largest has sold out 75 percent of its rooms, with all the others reserved for the hotel's owner, who intends to invite the chain's biggest corporate customers to visit Camden Yards and the VIP celebrations at All-Star time.

Back to the original question: Do sports teams have an economic impact on a city? Judging from these three downtown hotels, the answer is an emphatic "yes."

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