Due to the efforts of countless community members, local businesses and partner organizations, Major League Baseball came into town with the bases loaded and ready to hit a grand slam with their marquee event, MLB All-Star Week, which took place on July 5-9, 2019 in Cleveland.
There’s no doubt it takes a village to host major events and these key partners, and those behind the scenes, were vital to the execution of MLB’s All-Star Week. Whether it was permitting, security, city décor, PLAY BALL PARK’s event footprint, road closures, visitor hospitality or managing attractions, our Northeast Ohio community stepped up to the plate and swung big to ensure that MLB’s event was well supported.
All eyes were on Cleveland as baseball fans attended events in person or watched via broadcast on July 5-9, 2019.
Last held in Cleveland in 1997, the footprint of this event extended beyond the game with additional activities such as MLB PLAY BALL PARK, All-Star Concert Series, Jennie Finch Classic, 2nd Annual Commissioner’s Cup, All-Star Summer Bash at the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K, MLB All-Star Red Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet and countless community festivities.
Many of those who were onsite commented about the All-Star experience in Cleveland as being one of the best in memory, from the events themselves to the overall city-wide focus on baseball seen in downtown decor, themed menus, bars and restaurants and interactions with locals and businesses.
An estimated $65 million in direct business impact elevated the Cleveland economy, and the impression made on attendees and media will continue the positive shift in the national perception of Cleveland for years to come.
A new interactive festival, MLB PLAY BALL PARK, was held inside and outside Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland from July 5- 9, 2019. This fan festival gave attendees access to hit, pitch, run and slide their way through five days of baseball fun during the 4th of July weekend. Cleveland shined while 149,513 fans attended PLAY BALL PARK, making it the most attended MLB fan festival in 10 years dating back to 2009.
The 90th Major League Baseball All-Star Game held on July 9, 2019 at Progressive Field, was co-hosted by the Cleveland Indians and Greater Cleveland Sports Commission (GCSC).
“Leave it to this proud city to bring back memories of good old-fashioned baseball, celebrating the beauty and essence of the sport, in a truly wonderful All-Star experience.”
GCSC provided the following services that were instrumental to the success of MLB All-Star Week in Cleveland: city coordination, food and beverage, vendor procurement, volunteer transportation and youth tournament coordination.
During the planning process, we coordinated with the City of Cleveland, Cleveland Indians and Major League Baseball in order to finalize routes for The Color Run MLB All-Star 5K and MLB All-Star Red-Carpet Show presented by Chevrolet. Additionally, we were instrumental in securing the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland and Malls A and B in Downtown Cleveland for PLAY BALL PARK.
In effort to extend the festivities beyond MLB’s marquee events, GCSC worked with the City of Cleveland and State of Ohio to pass legislation that allowed for bars and restaurant to stay open until 4 am.
Since security was a top priority during MLB All-Star Week, GCSC took the lead on providing and purchasing food and beverage, cold storage and ice trailers to feed over 400 City of Cleveland police officers daily.
Our organization has valuable relationships with local vendors who provide a myriad of services such as audio/visual needs, barricade rental, potable restrooms, security staff and tenting. We were able to make connections between MLB and BaAM with these vendors to ensure local organizations were utilized to execute All-Star Week events.
Providing a positive visitor experience is a main priority when it comes to our hosted events. As we had a robust volunteer base to assist with All-Star efforts, our staff created a transportation plan that consisted of free parking to our volunteers as well as a shuttle system to transport from parking locations to PLAY BALL PARK.
GCSC puts a huge emphasis on programming for community youth. To execute both the 2nd Annual Commissioner’s Cup and Jennie Finch Classic, our staff set up several facility visits to scout locations to serve for both tournaments. Once locations were selected, GCSC facilitated the contracts with the venues and provided equipment, staff and volunteers to assist with the execution of both the baseball and softball youth tournaments.
Decorating The Land with MLB signage was imperative to enhancing the event footprint and improving the overall baseball fan experience. In order to make this impact effective, GCSC activated the following locations with signage and advertising throughout Downtown Cleveland:
In addition to the advertising spaces that GCSC purchased for marketing and décor, the Sports Commission assisted MLB in securing the following locations throughout Downtown Cleveland:
To raise awareness of MLB All-Star Week in the Northeast Ohio suburbs, advertising space was secured at both Legacy Village, on the east side and Crocker Park, on the west side of Downtown. Both spaces are premier, outdoor shopping centers that feature stores, restaurants and familybased
In addition to pole banners, directory kiosks and open storefront window wraps, Cleveland Indians Strikers, the club’s promotional team, was on site at multiple family-specific events in June to raise awareness of MLB All-Star Week.
In attempts to further extend the awareness of All-Star Week, a large west-facing Lamar billboard was purchased on the Shoreway. The billboard position was strategically chosen to target work-day commuters and families who attend summer events at Cleveland Metroparks’ Edgewater Park.
Destination Cleveland engaged the business community with on-site activation at multiple locations during MLB All-Star Week. Their staff, along with support from GCSC, handed out Cleveland Indians swag, PLAY BALL PARK postcards and Cleveland script gear at “pop-up” events that were located at the RTA entrance of Terminal Tower, Eaton Corporation, Squire Patton Boggs and Walnut Wednesday in Downtown Cleveland.
GCSC TRULY RAISED THE BAR IN SUPPORTING ALL-STAR WEEK…WE KNOW THAT IT WILL NOT LIKELY BE DUPLICATED.
A point of focus for GCSC is to provide visitors a welcoming atmosphere upon arrival in Northeast Ohio. Our staff enlisted the help of Destination Cleveland, Cleveland Hopkins International Airport and RTA to secure welcoming messages geared toward baseball fans.
At Cleveland Hopkins, baggage claim featured wrapped welcome desks, digital signage on multiple video boards and floor decals at the bottom of each escalator. Outside the terminal, pole banners featuring MLB All-Star players were framed along the arrival transportation area, the walkway from the terminal to the parking garage was wrapped to feature an MLB All-Star theme and a giant billboard exiting the airport via vehicle welcomed fans to Cleveland.
Additonally, Cleveland Hopkins provided a major assist with baseball-themed vendors passing out peanuts, popcorn and Cracker Jacks to airport visitors. While Destination Cleveland partners stepped up to the plate and provided Pierre’s ice cream and Vitamix lemonade that were distributed by volunteers at welcome areas in the terminal.
A robust volunteer base gave the largest “welcome” during all major sporting events. This all-star team provides a warm greeting at the airport, wayfinding on the Downtown sidewalks and in hotels, recommendations for food and beverage and endless knowledge when it comes to activities and sightseeing in Northeast Ohio.
In order to set up our hotels, bars, restaurants and shops for success during MLB All-Star Week, around 200 locations in Downtown Cleveland, Ohio City, Detroit Shoreway and Tremont neighborhoods were selected to receive welcome kits consisting of window clings with messaging that welcomed baseball fans to The Land, information on dates and times of events during MLB All-Star Week, MLB PLAY BALL PARK postcards, Cleveland visitor cards and Official Visitor’s Guides.
These kits helped prepare the hospitality community for out of town baseball guests by providing a warm welcome at the door and knowledge to staff about baseball festivities.
To raise community awareness about MLB PLAY BALL PARK, GCSC assisted with a marketing push focused on increasing fan attendance. This push, which extended beyond Downtown Cleveland and into the eastern and western communities, resulted in the MLB’s highest attended festival in the past ten years. The following are paid and grassroots marketing efforts:
Cleveland’s community provided tremendous support both prior to and during MLB All-Star Week. As a thank you for all their collaboration, GCSC extended The 9 Digital board to run through the end of July, MLB All-Star month, with a special heartfelt message to Clevelanders.
THE 2019 ALL-STAR GAME IN CLEVELAND WILL GO DOWN AS ONE OF THE MOST SUCCESSFUL IN RECENT HISTORY. I WANT TO THANK MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, THE CITY OF CLEVELAND, GREATER CLEVELAND SPORTS COMMISSION AND OUR ENTIRE INDIANS ORGANIZATION FOR THEIR TIRELESS EFFORT AND COLLABORATIVE SPIRIT IN MAKING OUR ALL-STAR SUMMER A HUGE SUCCESS.”
First Pitch of Summer, presented by Progressive and KeyBank and hosted by Greater Cleveland Sports Commission and Cleveland Indians, led off the Midsummer Classic’s community events by celebrating Cleveland’s rich baseball heritage. On June 8, over 800 Cleveland youth and community members “pitched” a baseball relay-style from historic League Park to Progressive Field. The baseball traveled approximately three miles, tossed from one person to the next, on a journey to become the ball used for the ceremonial first pitch in that evening’s Cleveland Indians vs. New York Yankees game.
A community-style festival opened First Pitch festivities at League Park including music, entertainment, baseball-themed games and displays, tours of the Baseball Heritage Museum, vendors, food trucks and autograph sessions with Cleveland Indians legends. A community resource station featuring health screenings was available on site. Opening ceremonies for First Pitch included community leaders, city officials and celebrity guests.
“First Pitch of Summer was an amazing opportunity for the community to take part in celebrating the start of summer baseball in our city,” said David Gilbert, President and CEO of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. “This event brought the community together in a year where Cleveland hosted the 2019 MLB All-Star Week in addition to showcasing the incredible history of America’s favorite pastime and giving everyone a chance to celebrate sports through a unique program.”
As part of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission’s Velocity programming, Cleveland Baseball Day presented by FirstEnergy Foundation provided 1,000 underserved youth an opportunity to experience MLB PLAY BALL PARK, an interactive fan festival celebrating baseball with interactive exhibits and activities, at the Huntington Convention Center of Cleveland for free on Monday, July 8, 2019.
Cleveland Baseball Day offered local youth free access to the exhibits and activities at MLB’s PLAY BALL PARK, a boxed lunch at Willard Park in Downtown Cleveland and an inspirational event t-shirt.
“It’s our goal to support Northeast Ohio’s economy by not only hosting large sporting events, but making these events more accessible to members of our community,” said David Gilbert, President and CEO of Greater Cleveland Sports Commission. “Baseball has been a passion of the Cleveland community for generations and Cleveland Baseball Day is a way for our youngest members to experience the excitement of MLB’s All-Star Week in person.”
The FirstEnergy Foundation and GCSC worked with various youth organizations throughout Northeast Ohio to attend this free event, including Cleveland and Akron area city recreation centers, Boys and Girls Clubs and summer camps that primarily provide services to underserved suburban groups.
“Don’t sail too high or sink too low. Learn to be good at handling failure. Be the first one to the ballpark. Be the last one to leave. Work hard, don’t complain, be a great teammate. Ask other people about themselves. You never know what you might learn. And above all, treat people with respect,” said Jim Thome during his National Baseball Hall of Fame Induction speech.
The words of a legend are seldom forgotten, and the Cleveland community had a chance to hear a legend tell his story in his own words. Greater Cleveland Sports Commission hosted a luncheon for select partners which featured Jim Thome, Cleveland Indians legend and National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee who shared career highlights with a full room during Lunch with a Legend on Tuesday, July 9 at The Westin Cleveland Downtown.
Chris Rose, MLB Network sportscaster and Shaker Heights native served as luncheon host and Q&A moderator who presented Thome’s MLB career through a series of multi-media highlights and baseball trivia which fans enjoyed.
Greater Cleveland Sports Commission strives to make every sporting and competitive event in Northeast Ohio that it co-hosts, the best experience possible for the visitors, fans, event organizers and the community. MLB All-Star Week was an out of the park home run.
From assisting with event operations, to marketing in unique spaces, ensuring baseball fans from all corners of the country had a warm welcome, to a major push for MLB PLAY BALL PARK and posts on social media, no base was left untouched in the Cleveland community.
GCSC believes that Cleveland is the best city to host major sporting events due to its infrastructure, unique ability to gather our community around a major event and mentality to go above and beyond to ensure event success.
Bring your event to Cleveland
Cleveland is undeniably a sports town. Our community has the unique ability to make your event the focal point of our city. Contact us to start the conversation.Contact Us
1 of 22