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    The King James Effect—And the Impact of Dan Gilbert and the Cleveland Cavaliers on the City

    Fresh off a successful championship run, breaking Cleveland’s long-standing championship drought, the Cleveland Cavaliers, the team’s leader Lebron James and its owner, Dan Gilbert are being shown just how much they matter to the City.   Following the championship win on June 22nd, 2016, Cleveland, a city with a population of 396,800, welcomed over 1 million adoring sports fan who showed up on a weekday to celebrate at the Cavs’s epic victory parade celebration.  Nothing better symbolizes Cleveland’s rebirth and regained sense of confidence then the Cavs’ championship victory.

    Impact of the Cleveland Cavalers on Cleveland

    According to a 2015 economic impact study performed by Convention Sports & Leisure, each Cavs playoff home game had an estimated economic impact of $3.6 million and $5 million for each NBA Finals game at the Quicken Loans Arena.  It also showed for games 3 and 4 of the NBA Finals, the City of Cleveland directly benefitted by pulling in $927,000 in admission taxes alone.  With the City taking in an estimated $105 million in total admission taxes in the 20 years since the team moved to Downtown Cleveland in 1994 and a $168 million in total tax revenues, these two nights represent a significant direct benefit to Cleveland.

    The Impact of Quicken Loans Arena on Cleveland

    Beyond the Cleveland Cavaliers and the two minor league teams, the Lake Erie Monsters and the Cleveland Gladiator,s that Gilbert brought to Cleveland and call the Q home, the Quicken Loans Arena has developed into a premier entertainment venue. Three out of 4 events are non-sporting events. The venue is ranked as the 13th in ticket sales in the United States and 33rd worldwide for top touring attractions in 2015 according to Pollstar Magazine.  As best put by Len Komoroski, CEO of the Cavaliers and the Quicken Loans Arena, the Q has been a major economic force in Downtown Cleveland, generating $288 million in total output, creating 3,500 jobs and $34 million in taxes to multiple levels of government in 2015 alone.

    The Impact of Dan Gilbert on Cleveland

    Building around these successes and embracing the connectivity of the area, Dan Gilbert (shown here at left has a net worth of $5.1 Billion, made the 2015 Forbes 400 list, and in 2016 also made The List as the richest man in Michigan) and his related companies  have worked to establish a foothold in Cleveland beyond sports.  With the recent purchases of the Higbee Building for $79 million, the Avenue Mall at Tower City for $56.5 million and the Ritz Carlton Hotel for $36.6 million, Gilbert and his related companies are making a significant commitment to the City of Cleveland beyond the Cleveland Cavaliers. 

    The Higbee Building houses Gilbert’s JACK Casino— formally the Horseshoe Cleveland, which will soon also be the home of Quicken Loans’ Cleveland Office and over 400 full-time employees.  The space will undergo a $7 million renovation and will increase the total floor space by 36,000 square feet from Quicken’s previous Cleveland location, setting the company up for future expansion in the City.

    The Avenue Mall at Tower City will be Gilbert’s first foray into the retail market in Downtown. The space has been reinvigorated thanks to the 79% increase in downtown residents since 2000 and a renewed interest in visiting Downtown.

    While the retail project is still in its initial stages of development, Gilbert’s commitment to the City is clear, intending to utilize “the Avenue Mall to build upon the connectivity of his other downtown investments and create a one-of-a-kind urban shopping, dining and entertainment destination that will make all Clevelanders proud,” Gilbert said.

    Photo Credit: City of Cleveland Photographers