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Downtown Houston businesses enjoying World Series boom

Houston First Corporation says each World Series game provides a direct impact of about $6 million to $8 million.

HOUSTON — The World Series is bringing an economic boom to downtown Houston after a tough pandemic did a number on hotels, restaurants and other businesses.

On Wednesday, Houston First Corporation estimated a direct impact to the city of between $6 million to $8 million per game.

The group expects downtown hotels to be higher than 90% occupancy, with rates the same or higher than during the 2019 World Series between the Astros and the Washington Nationals.

"The World Series is the pot at the end of the rainbow,” said Steve Ryan, Pit Master for Jackson Street Barbecue.

Ryan said business during the postseason is about 30 times higher than what the restaurant was seeing before.

About 7,000 pounds of meat per day are being cooked for the main restaurant, which sits next door to Minute Maid Park, and for their ballpark location.

It's a huge change after a gloomy last year-and-a-half of empty downtown streets, starts and stops with COVID-19 and dollars lost from remote work and canceled conventions.

Signs of the economic boom downtown were visible Wednesday. Parking lots near the ballpark were charging $70.

Dietrich von Biedenfeld, a business professor at the University of Houston-Downtown, said other parts of the region are also enjoying the postseason boom.

"We see that in Katy, Conroe, and everywhere else that we've got venues with large televisions and places for people to gather,” von Biedenfeld said.

He said it also means more money for suppliers and temporary workers statewide meeting the higher demand in Houston.

“We know law enforcement gets a little bit extra pay for working security at these side gigs and things like that,” von Biedenfeld said. “That's going to increase spending power, disposable income in those households, and that's a net win for the Houston area."

A net win that, win or lose at Minute Maid Park, Ryan hopes means brighter days for downtown once the series ends.

"It's such an influx,” Ryan said. “It's a godsend."