The Baltimore Ravens have worked hard all year to earn a spot in the NFL playoffs as one of the top-seeded teams. The motivation was to secure home-field advantage. The Ravens fell one game shy of home-field advantage throughout the playoffs, but they did earn a first round bye and a home game against the Houston Texans in the Divisional Round of the playoffs this coming weekend. For the Ravens, a home game means an advantage on the field, but for the city and state it means dollars being pumped into the local economy.
Everything from purchasing playoff gear, buying tickets, eating at restaurants and reserving hotel rooms help contribute to our local businesses and economy. The visiting team and its fans will book hotel rooms that, had the Ravens not gotten a home game, would have been empty. They will dine at local restaurants and shop at local stores. And it’s not just the visiting team that’s helping the economy. National media will come to town to cover the game. These people need a place to stay and food to eat, as well.
Ravens fans from around the state will also come to Baltimore for the big game. Tickets sold out minutes after they went on sale last week, so a packed house is expected. Those fans coming from a greater distance might consider spending a night downtown and/or going to a bar or restaurant prior to or after the big game. Fans without tickets tend to gather at local Baltimore establishments to watch Ravens games with other fans. Those consumers are buying food and drink that might not have otherwise been consumed.
Even the purchase of playoff gear from local vendors is helping to stimulate our economy. Whether it’s AFC North Championship hats or Ball So Hard University shirts, vendors have been hard at work mass producing all the commemorative playoff gear so their supply can meet the demand. Since the Ravens clinched the AFC North with a win in Cincinnati on New Year’s Day, fans have been flocking to local retailers to pick up their playoff gear. New merchandise is being brought in every day, and the stock is flying off the shelves.
Local businesses affiliated with the team are also benefiting from the team’s on-field success. According to a recent article in the Baltimore Business Journal (subscription required), local radio stations like WBAL-1090 and 98 Rock, the radio home of the Ravens, will see a major increase in ad sales and sponsorships. The home game allows both stations opportunities to host pre-game radio shows and events leading up to the game.
Local companies and businesses are also using the playoff game as way to drum up additional business. Some are buying into sponsorship opportunities with the team, while others are planning events around the game to draw in customers.
The impact professional football has on a city is immeasurable. It brings more than just dollars to a city, but a sense of community. An entire city’s emotions can ride on one team. A city comes alive when its team is doing well, and the Ravens have brought that feeling to Baltimore. The city and its surrounding area are benefiting from the recent successes of the Ravens franchise. Home field advantage is more than just a potential win on the field; it’s a win for the city and the state of Maryland.