Brewers talk economic impact of Opening Day

NOW: Brewers talk economic impact of Opening Day

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) – We are less than a week away from Opening Day on April 1, 2021.

With fans heading inside the ballpark, this means a much-needed boost for businesses and employees.

It has been 18 months since fans have been able to set foot inside of the stadium.

The seats inside are empty now, but in less than a week 12,000 fans will fill them.

“One of the reasons we’re so excited is we get to bring back a lot of our part-time staff that frankly was furloughed last year,” says Rick Schlesinger, president of business operations for the Brewers. “You’re talking about a lot of people who relied on working here for their livelihood and supplementing their income.”

Over the last 20 years, officials say the team has had a $2.5 million impact on the community, not just through fan spending, but through jobs.

“It really makes the point about Major League Baseball and the impact it has on this community, not only for the people who are going to work here,” says Tim Sheehy, president of the Metropolitan Association of Commerce. “But the countless jobs that are created in this community as people go out to bars and restaurants.”

The team will have 900 part-time workers for Opening Day.

They’re currently selling between 15,000-20,000 tickets, which is a drop from their typical 40,000 a game.

But the team says this is a step in the right direction for growth and confidence.

“This will be another step towards normalcy for people,” says Sheehy. “When you think about it, when I look downtown, maybe 10-15% of employees are actually working in their offices downtown, so just the symbol of Opening Day is a really important step for the confidence.”

“Hopefully as we start selling tickets for after May 2, we’ll be able to increase the numbers,” says Schlesinger. “Maybe even before. The more tickets I have available is a great message for us to say good news.”

The team hopes to expand capacity once they get approval from the health department. They say those conversations are constant and will continue as they go through the season.  

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