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Wrigley Concerts Deliver $24 Million Boost to Economy in 2012

The four musical performances injected millions into the Lake View economy, with Bruce Springsteen snagging record numbers.

The four musical performances at Wrigley Field in 2012 brought more than $24 million in economic activity to Chicago and the Lake View neighborhood, the Chicago Cubs organization is reporting. 

In addition, the two performances by Bruce Springsteen and The E Street Band Sept. 7 and Sept. 8 set a new record for the largest crowd to attend a concert at the Friendly Confines. The concert series drew 84,218 fans Friday and Saturday.

The previous record of 83,998 was set last fall when Paul McCartney played two concerts at Wrigley Field. This was Springsteen’s first performance at Wrigley Field and first in Chicago since 2009.

Minneapolis-based Convention Sports and Leisure International estimated the weekend concerts delivered more than $12 million in total economic impact to the region. This figure reflects $7.4 million in direct spending by concert-goers both inside the ballpark and at hotels, bars, restaurants and other businesses in the surrounding neighborhood.

“Wrigley Field is perhaps the greatest entertainment venue and economic asset in the City of Chicago,” said Bill Rhoda, director of sports services for CSL. “The park creates tremendous value for an entire city and in particular, is largely responsible for keeping the Lake View community strong and vibrant.”

As a result of the direct spending, Rhoda said, dollars are multiplied through the economy and additional wages are created for those who work the concerts. Rhoda noted Wrigley Field’s unique urban location also extends the impact of the ballpark to more than 2,000 parking spaces operated by neighborhood residents, rooftop businesses which were sold out for the show, billboards and signage controlled by third parties and a highly active bar and restaurant business which benefits from the economic activity of concertgoers.

“The park creates tremendous value for an entire City and in particular, is largely responsible for keeping the Lake View community strong and vibrant.”

The record-breaking Springsteen performances generated $1.3 million in state and local taxes, more than $400,000 of which comes from city and county amusement taxes alone – taxes generated from each ticket sold for the concerts.

When combined with June’s Wrigley Field performances by Brad Paisley and Roger Waters, this summer’s four concerts at Wrigley Field generated $24 million in economic impact and $2.5 million in estimated tax revenues to the city, county and state, including $1.6 million in taxes for the City of Chicago alone.  

Lakeview Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Heather Way said the concerts are a boon to the Lake View area and provide world-class and unique events, which contribute to the energetic environment of the neighborhood.

“We’re fortunate Wrigley Field and the Cubs have the capacity to host distinct events, which draw a consumer who might not otherwise have the opportunity to discover all that Lake View has to offer,” Way said.

The economic impact was felt as far as Southport Avenue, as businesses saw an increase in sales.

“We realized a 20 percent increase in sales versus the previous weekend,” said Derek Rettell, owner of Crosby’s Restaurant, 3455 N. Southport. “Typically September is when we begin to see sales slide as school begins, but the concert was a great bump to our business. This is a clear case of how we can keep business going and people working.”

And executive director Gus Isaacson of the Central Lakeview Merchants Association said the business community is always appreciative of concerts in the area.

"The sold out events are a great example of the community’s excitement," he said. "We gear up for extra attention and support of our members by creating new signage, menus, and promotions for the concerts."

Tiffany Morgan, director of operations for Casey Morans, a popular Clark Street bar serving Lakeview residents and Cubs fans for more than eight years, said the concerts are great for the area.

“The concerts are fantastic for both of our businesses," Morgan said. "They bring new faces to the neighborhood and people love the novelty of seeing a show at Wrigley Field. Each show brings its own brand of energy and excitement. We would love to see as many shows at Wrigley as possible.”

Credit: Chicago Cubs

Jonathan A. Senal September 28, 2012 at 02:55 PM
The Cubs organization has a vested interest in reporting profits to Lakeview since it has the most to gain, financially speaking, in the utilization of its fixed overhead. I'd like to see an independent audit that looks at costs to the city and neighborhood. Are the profits the they are making on these shows merely a transfer of tax payer dollars to its bank accounts.
LV2 Resident October 01, 2012 at 03:55 PM
The Rickets family needs to subsidize the cost of modifying LV2 parking areas if the concerts are going to continue. The zone was created from Cubs night games, but no adjustment has been made for concerts. LV2 areas become a free-for-all during these weekends.

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