On Earth Day, Turning The Motor City Into Cycle City

Let’s face it: Detroit’s reputation as the Motor City is unshakeable. But it’s gaining ground as a city for cyclists.

Racing enthusiasts have revived a velodrome, cycle clubs are growing, it’s easy to find a bike tour and tourism officials took journalists on a ride around Detroit last year. Grown Men on Bikes, a Detroit cycle club, even has its own theme song.

On Sunday, which is Earth Day, the Detroit Tigers want to take all that a step further.

The Tigers' mascot, Paws, with cyclists who rode to Opening Day 2012/ Courtesy Detroit Tigers

The team is hosting its first Ride to the Ballpark event, testing its theory that baseball fans and bicyclists are one and the same.

“Detroit has a very cool, strong cyclist culture,” says Eli Bayless, the Tigers’ director of promotions and in-game operations.

The Tigers are offering a $14 package that includes an upper deck ticket to the game, and a ticket for a bicycle valet. Cyclists will pull up to Columbia Plaza in front of Comerica Park’s Gate A entrance, and check their bikes.

Tickets must be purchased by midnight tonight: there will be no same-day Ride to the Ballpark sales.

As of Thursday, more than 100 people had already bought their tickets, said Bayless, and the team hopes to attract a total of about 250 cyclists/fans. Continue reading “On Earth Day, Turning The Motor City Into Cycle City”

Glosowac Na Najlepszy Zespol Polka! (*Translation Below)

The Midwest is home to tens of thousands of Polish-Americans. Now, here’s your chance to take part in a great Detroit tradition: Polish American Night at Comerica Park.

The Detroit Tigers are giving their Facebook fans the chance to vote for the polka band that will perform on Friday evening, June 1.

(Or basically, what our headline says.)

You can see videos and vote for these five polka masters: The Natural Tones; The Kielbasa Kings; The Big Daddy Orchestra; The Misty Blues and The Steve Drzewicki Band. Continue reading “Glosowac Na Najlepszy Zespol Polka! (*Translation Below)”

The Prince Fielder Economic Effect In Detroit

Slugger Prince Fielder has only played one regular season game with the Detroit Tigers, but the team is reveling in his economic impact.

New scoreboard, new slugger/photo by Micki Maynard

The Tigers drew a record Opening Day crowd of 45,027 to Comerica Park, the second-highest single game attendance in the park’s 12-year history.

Many people were there simply to see Fielder, the former Milwaukee Brewer who signed a $214 million, nine-year contract with the club earlier this year.

Thanks to Fielder, the Tigers have seen an immediate impact on season ticket sales.

They sold 21,000 season ticket packages (six games or more) before the season started, guaranteeing them annual attendance of at least 1.6 million fans. That’s up 50 percent from the 14,000 season tickets the Tigers sold in 2011, when they won the American League Central Division title. Continue reading “The Prince Fielder Economic Effect In Detroit”

Hype Videos To Get You Ready For Opening Day

The folks at Funny or Die know it. Baseball can bring out the competitiveness in Midwesterners. We may have our disagreements – Cubs or Sox, Tigers or Tribe, Twins or Brewers – but no matter who you cheer for in the Midwest, chances are your local economy picks up just a little this time of year.

Major League Baseball’s Opening Day might not be the most productive afternoon in the office. But no one can deny the economic effects of the baseball season. Last year, we wrote about how our Midwest cities buzz on Opening Day.

As the season goes on, the economic ripple effects from baseball can grow or wane, depending on, say, how Justin Verlander pitches. There’s also the possibility this year that Detroit will get an extra economic boost from Prince Fielder, and Milwaukee will lose out. And if any of our Midwest teams make it to the playoffs, that’ll only make the cash registers sing for longer.

If the economic benefits aren’t enough to get you excited about opening day, here are some videos that might:

Continue reading “Hype Videos To Get You Ready For Opening Day”

SURVEY: What Do The Detroit Tigers Mean To You And To Detroit?

Spring training is underway, and avid Detroit Tiger fans are counting the days until April 5, when it will be Opening Day at Comerica Park.

Comerica Park, by Micki Maynard

This year, there’s a lot of attention surrounding the team, which stunned baseball when it snapped up slugger Prince Fielder. Opening Day tickets sold out in 45 minutes last Saturday, and demand for regular season games is soaring, which will bring a lot of people downtown.

And the impact will be even greater if Tigers’ owner Mike Ilitch get his dream of a World Series.

We want to know what the Tigers mean to you. Are you a lifelong fan, or did you only catch Tiger Fever last year? What are your memories of Comerica Park (or as some of us won’t stop calling it, Tiger Stadium)? How do you think the interest in the Tigers will affect Detroit?

Take our survey. Send us your thoughts, memories, photos. We’ll feature them every day during Opening Day week.

Then re-live last year’s Opening Day. See you at the ballpark!

Prince Fielder’s Economic Impact for Detroit — and Milwaukee

If you’re a baseball fan, you already know that the ground shook last week when the Detroit Tigers signed slugger Prince Fielder. His nine-year, $214 million contract cost the Tigers as much as Ford plans to spend on a new engine plant in Brazil.

Prince Fielder at his first Detroit Tigers press conference

But Crain’s Detroit Business says the Tigers — and Detroit — can afford the former Milwaukee Brewers star.

That word comes from Chris Ilitch, the son of Tigers’ owner Michael Ilitch, and the president of Illitch Family Holdings, Inc., the family’s group of companies that includes pizza giant Little Caesar’s Enterprises.

Those companies, including the Tigers, the Detroit Red Wings, and Detroit’s Motor City casino, generate about $4 billion in annual revenue.

In 2010, the latest year for which information is available, the Tigers had annual revenue of $192 million, according to Forbes.com. Continue reading “Prince Fielder’s Economic Impact for Detroit — and Milwaukee”

Detroit, Milwaukee Get Ready For Post-Season Economic Boost

There may be no joy in Boston or Atlanta, but there is plenty among baseball fans in the Great Lakes. The Detroit Tigers and Milwaukee Brewers are headed to division playoff series in the American and National Leagues, respectively.

The Brewers have a leg up on their neighbors across Lake Michigan: they’ve clinched home field advantage in the best of five series. They play the Arizona Diamondbacks on Friday and Saturday at Miller Park in Milwaukee.

The Tigers face the New York Yankees those same days at Yankee Stadium in New York, then return to Comerica Park on Monday.

Both teams have been big economic drivers for their home towns, and both cities will get another economic boost from post-season games, which could last all this month, depending on how far each team goes. That’s good news for everything that benefits from a sports team: restaurants, parking lot attendants, hotels, souvenir sales and the guys who hawk peanuts. Continue reading “Detroit, Milwaukee Get Ready For Post-Season Economic Boost”