In advance of the Padres’ opening night game March 30, a local think tank released a report on the team’s economic impact in the region last year, estimating the net impact at $44.3 million based on spending by out of town visitors.
The report by the National University System Institute for Policy Research said based on the 2013 attendance at Petco Park of 2.16 million and estimates from other sources, the nonlocal visitors generated spending of $67.6 million. This included spending on such things as overnight lodging, dining, transportation and entertainment.
Since Petco Park opened in 2004, the East Village neighborhood surrounding the ballpark has grown by about 14,000 units, and gained about 15,000 residents.
But in other metrics, the promise of the ballpark spurring employment hasn’t materialized, the report said.
In 2013, downtown employment stood at 64,718, which is only 29 jobs above what it was in 2004.
“While there are developments moving forward that offer the chance to add to downtown’s employment base, the region still has been unable to accelerate job growth downtown or to diversify the economy in the 92101 ZIP code,” said the report by Eric Bruvold, president of NUSIPR.
Bruvold noted that when Petco opened 10 years ago, the attendance spiked to above 3 million annually, but after that inaugural season the luster wore off and fewer folks came to the ballpark, although last season saw an increase.
Measuring on an average per game basis over 81 games, the Padres drew 26,749 in 2013, up from 2012 when the average gate was 26,218.
A sellout crowd of 42,000 is expected on March 30 when the Pads host the Los Angeles Dodgers in a nationally televised game.