By Eric B. Larson
True confessions: I’m a “Roadie.” Not because of Taylor Swift, but because of the Detroit Grand Prix #back on the streets of downtown.
But I must admit Taylor Swift is a force. Never could I have imagined that one superstar could generate such an impact on Downtown Detroit. When we think about why making Detroit so inviting is so important, these large events and their economic impact are one very recent example.
The magnitude of Swift’s draw is incredible. The data estimates that 330,000 people descended into Detroit for her show Saturday and of those, only (only!) 55,000 scored tickets to the show at Ford Field. Friday’s numbers were almost as high, but Saturday also saw Motor City Pride, the Detroit Tigers, and a number of other Downtown events and attractions.
Swift’s impact is so extreme that analysts call it the “TSwift Lift” as she hits city after city impacting economies and boosting revenues for hotels, dining, and retail.
Together, the two weekends welcomed well in excess of half a million people to Downtown Detroit.
You may want to read that again.
It’s reported that hotel occupancies exceeded 80 percent, and many were fully booked well in advance. A big jump from this time last year and arguably what could be one of the best months for hospitality in recent times.
According to Fortune, a data report from research company QuestionPro suggests that The Eras Tour has the potential to generate a staggering $4.6 billion in consumer spending in the United States, roughly $21 million per city. As significant as that is, the significance extends well beyond the number of people – and even beyond the economic impact.
Many of these attendees were experiencing Detroit for the first time, both locals and out-of-towners. They visited new restaurants and noted new ones to try next time. And there will be a next time.
They saw a city bursting with pride; clean, well-maintained streets; well-landscaped parks and public spaces; and Downtown Detroit Business Improvement Zone Ambassadors ready and willing to help.
And finally, I’m not avoiding the obvious: both weekends went off without incident. The Detroit Police Department is to be commended for their efforts. Their presence was felt, and it made a difference.
Together, we are succeeding in making it happen in Detroit.
So, the next time “Shake it Off” or “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together” comes on, don’t be surprised if you hear many of us in the Downtown singing along.